Women’s cricket has the momentum now. With the first world cup in 1973, women had to battle it longer than anyone to cement themselves between the masses. Just before COVID was paving its way from China to different parts of the globe, women’s cricket made a mark in Australia.
It was ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. According to the latest media release from International Cricket Council, the T20 World Cup is the most-watched women’s T20 event in history. Female Cricket has reported earlier that figures from ICC and other sources had suggested that the recent world cup was a big hit. ICC has, now, revealed the record viewing figures for the ICC women’s world cup.
The press release further adds that apart from creating a new benchmark, the event has entered into the club of most-watched women’s sporting events in history. According to ICC, the event recorded a viewership of 1.1 billion through ICC digital channels. This is 20 times higher than the video views delivered by the previous edition of the tournament held in Windies in 2018.
It was 10 times more watched than the previous most successful women’s cricket event. It was ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2017. Importantly, these figures mean that women’s T20 world cup stands second in the tally of the most successful ICC event. The trend, however, continued with broadcast as well. The finals of the world cup achieved record viewership globally. For the hosts, there was a massive rise in viewership.
🚨 RECORD 🚨
Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 was one of the most-watched women’s sporting events in history, reveals @ICC.
Do you still meet people who don’t know what women’s cricket is and question its identity? pic.twitter.com/XkZ7rhy8Lu
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) June 22, 2020
Live viewing hours were 13.45 million which is 473℅ higher than the 2018 tournament. This was driven by the fact that Aussies were hosting the event and the coverage on free-to-air channels had increased significantly. The finals saw an average audience of 1.2 million which places the event as the most-watched women’s cricket match in Australian broadcast history. India can never stay behind when it comes to cricket. India made it to the finals and Indians were cheering for women in blue from their homes. There was a 423% increase in viewership for the knockout stages. The live viewing hours were recorded to be 86.15 million.
This was 152% higher than in 2018. This increase was also triggered by the broadcast of select India matches in five regional languages. There was a great uprise in South Africa as well. The live viewing hours have reported a 40% increase. It was recorded as 647,000 hours. The loss of South Africa to Australia was the most-watched game with an average audience of 39 thousand. This, too, was 54% more than the previous most-watched match in 2018.
Reports from the United Kingdom were not expected to rise as there is a considerable time zone challenge. However, the fact that there was a mere 8% dip in viewing hours, as compared to 2018, seems a validation of the rise of the sport. England’s opening game became the match to witness the highest UK audience for a group stage match at an ICC women’s event.
Chief Executive of ICC said that “We are delighted with these outstanding global viewership numbers that demonstrate the power of women’s cricket to attract huge audiences across the globe. It reinforces our belief that there is a significant opportunity around the women’s game and collectively we must promote it further so more fans can enjoy it, more kids are inspired by it, and sponsors and broadcasters want to be a part of it”.
These figures are proof of the growth that has entered the women’s cricket lately. The momentum was only going upwards as people had seen their teams in the event and were ready to follow the players. However, the pandemic had some other plans. Nonetheless, nothing is lost if the post COVID world ensures that women are not left behind to fill the leftovers of men’s schedule.