The kick-off to the much-awaited Asia Cup 2022 gave every cricket enthusiast something to go to town with. On August 28, 2022, cheers echoed from every other household where fans had gathered in front of their TV screens to see the epic clash between India and Pakistan, being aired on Star Sports who are the official broadcasters of Asia Cup 2022.
The first India vs. Pakistan Match on TV for the Asia Cup recorded a massive reach of 125 million viewers and registered 13.6 billion minutes on TV, which is 30% higher than the previous Asia Cup. The clash is also now the most watched T20 international match outside of World Cups. To add to that, the first week of the tournament itself recorded a cumulative reach of 200 million. Clearly, cricket frenzy in the country is showing no signs of slowing down.
While there was some chatter around the 13 million-peak concurrency on digital for the India-Pakistan clash in Asia Cup, the same rival clash during the last World Cup on television had delivered a peak concurrency of 116 million – 9X higher. Yatin Balyan, Managing Partner and National Head of Media Investments at Omnicon Media Group, talks about how TV is still the ideal platform for watching sports, “Any sport, not only cricket, is best enjoyed on a large screen. Viewership is a function of teams competing and closing contests among the teams within the series. India vs Pakistan cricket is one such contest that the audience looks forward to and a last-over finish is bound to generate that kind of viewership.”
He goes on to add, “The popularity of cricket in India across any format at all, be it Test, ODI and T20 was never a question. It is evident with the number of cricketing days in a year, that most seasons have very limited and short breaks between the events. Asia Cup is also being played after a long hiatus between the two arch-rival teams India & Pakistan, therefore many more viewers are going to tune in.”
Elaborating on that Navin Khemka, CEO, South Asia, Mediacom says, “This was expected given the timing and the stature of the match. The popularity or rating of a match is dependent on a host of factors – teams playing, match timing, day of the week and team composition. This can give us a good indicator of what to expect. As the game is unpredictable, the rating will also depend on the following during the live match: competitiveness, scores etc. I think all these variables worked in favour of this match and we saw such high ratings.”
The first game between India and Pakistan delivered a massive 25% growth over the previous clash in the Asia Cup. The competitive energy transcends the stadium, to the TV screens and into the living room of every cricket fan, where everyone has an opinion on a shot played, on the stance taken etc. This sets up well for the upcoming festive cricket season on television with the T20 World Cup slated to begin on October 16.
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