Cricket World Cup openers draw 101MN Indian TV viewers

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 23 February 2015

The opening two matches of this year's ICC Cricket World Cup attracted 101 million viewers across the eight Star TV channels in India, according to audience measurement data from TAM.

The two matches – New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka and England vs. Australia, played on 14 February, drew a greater number of Hindi viewers (67%) compared to those tuning into Star TV's coverage with an English feed. In the previous edition of the World Cup, those watching with English commentary drew 55% of the country's TV audience.

The Australia vs. England T20 cricket match was broadcast in six languages by the Indian pay-TV operator, and accounted for the majority of the 101 million viewers that tuned in. It registered two-and-a-half times the viewing figures for the same fixture in the recently concluded tri-series (between India, Australia and England).

Television viewing figures are yet to be released for India's opening two matches in the World Cup, which saw them beat Asian rivals Pakistan on 15 February, and demolish South Africa on 22 February. However, global TV audiences were expected to exceed 1 billion for the former clash alone.

Broadcasting rights for all ICC events were sold to a joint venture of ESPN-Star Sports in 2006, for a reported US$1.1 billion. Star, which bought out ESPN in 2012, holds the rights to broadcast the 2015 World Cup to more than 200 countries.

The 2015 Cricket World Cup is the 11th of the T20 tournament and is jointly hosted by New Zealand and Australia.