The TV viewing figures for the 2022 edition of the IPL have, to phrase it mildly, put a cat amongst the pigeons. Indeed, advertisers have expressed their concern about the dip in TV viewers with many weighing up the wisdom of paying such exorbitant costs for a product that is seemingly being neglected by the public. Here, we find out if what is being reported in the latest business news is really the case and whether there should be the degree of panic that there currently is amongst the IPL’s biggest investors.
Has the IPL been around long enough to command loyalty?
To start with, it’s worth pointing out that the league’s two most popular teams, the Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, have both had seasons to forget. In fact, the duo finished dead last in the league table with CSK only avoiding the wooden spoon by virtue of their net run rate. This is a crucial point to take into consideration when trying to come to an accurate conclusion about why there has been the TV rating dip that the competition has had. Essentially, and it is as straightforward as this, fans don’t take pleasure in watching their team lose every week. So, eventually, they stop watching.
Whilst that may seem like a trivial reason, one has to keep in mind that the IPL was created in 2008 and has been played for just 14 seasons which ultimately means that fans don’t have unconditional loyalty to their teams. In other words, if the going gets tough, fans haven’t invested enough to put up with it and there’s no sugar-coating it as the online sports headlines report, this campaign has given fans of Mumbai Indians and CSK nothing but disappointment. Additionally, the IPL isn’t, after all, the English Premier League where fans grow up a short walk away from the stadium of the club they support and subsequently go on to follow them for the rest of their lives irrespective of how they perform. In this sense, the IPL is susceptible to viewership dips due to the misfortunes of the most popular teams.
Fans turn off the TV and turn to online streaming
One of the other key reasons for the drop-off in viewership is that cricket fans are changing the way in which they watch the sport with a tectonic shift taking place towards streaming. This trend is seen better in the number of subscribers that Hotstar has recorded over the last twelve months. Remarkably, the streaming giant began 2021 with ten million subscribers and as of the middle of 2022, that number has risen to 13 million.
You may ask why this is important and the reason is that Hotstar is the official streaming partner of the IPL, which indicates that the viewing numbers of the event have, in all likelihood, remained steady with only the TV audiences dipping. In reality, this surge towards streaming could have, to some extent, given the official IPL viewing figures a false reading. At the very least, they are not as low as they are being projected with only a marginal drop-off due to the form of the competition’s two biggest franchises.
If anything, the TV viewing figures could even fall further when the official numbers are released next season owing to how many fans are turning to streaming to watch cricket. If you ever needed further proof of this craze then take this list of the best IPL betting sites that some of the most knowledgeable experts have compiled in order to provide you with the best betting options. Specifically, the section which describes the ins and outs of watching IPL live online with the information given on how many cricket betting sites also offer to stream for selected matches. It’s easy to see why so many punters have opted to stream cricket as it’s cheaper and, in many cases, a lot more convenient.
This trend isn’t a passing fad but rather one that will only increase and draw in a significant amount of the current TV audience. In conclusion, all the evidence points towards the IPL remaining as popular as ever but the metrics being used to capture the competition’s growth seem to be outdated. The world is changing and the way fans consume their cricket is vastly different from what it was now that online streaming offers a more personalized and affordable service.