The 2020 edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge seems to have shattered quite a few records as it boasted of a whopping 5.34 billion minutes in viewership generated by 105 million unique viewers in India, which is almost two and a half times rise from the 2.20 billion minutes recorded in 2019 generated by 71 million viewers.
Broadcast data obtained by ESPN Cricinfo revealed that last year’s tournament played alongside the playoffs of the IPL in the UAE, recorded a 143% increase in viewing minutes and a 48% rise in unique viewers in India compared to last year. The tournament was aired in five languages (Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada) across 11 Star Sports channels as opposed to eight in 2019. The tournament was “financially independent”, as the 2020 edition earned a title sponsor and multiple official sponsors.
|Women’s T20 Challenge 2019||Women’s T20 Challenge 2020||% Increase|
|Viewership minutes||2.20 billion||5.34 billion||142.72|
|Unique viewers||71 million||105 million||47.89|
India’s success in making it to the ICC World T20 final may have boosted audience interest in this edition of Women’s T20 Challenge. The Women’s World T20 2020 was the most-watched ICC women’s T20 event in history. India’s live viewing hours were 86.15m which is 152% higher than the 2018 World T20, which was around 56.18m. The record-breaking viewership for the Women’s T20 challenge is indeed a testimony to the love for women’s cricket in India.
There is seldom any doubt that there was a paradigm shift in the Indian public’s perception of the women cricketers began after the 2017 [ODI] World Cup where India played England in the finals. Though the Women in Blue lost by mere nine runs, they won millions of hearts. Mithali Raj, who led India to a second World Cup final, boasted of a team-high on self-belief and skillset which would have toppled the strong home side any other day. After 2017, India reached the semi-finals of the 2018 Women’s World T20 and in 2020, played the finals. The last three years have been really amazing for Indian women’s cricket.
Typically it was the men’s cricket that garnered billions of eyeballs, but in recent years, the viewership of women’s cricket seems to be taking pace, courtesy, the Indian team’s performance in recent years, improved skill-sets, individual distinction, and style of some players.
So, the question that more often than not sticks its head out of the hole, is an IPL-like competition on the cards for women? To play it safe, only time will tell.
Source: Annesha Ghosh for ESPN Cricinfo
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