Cricket’s 2021 men's T20 World Cup, which was held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman between 17 October and 14 November, saw record coverage and viewership around the world, the International Cricket Council world governing body has said.
The competition for the short-form version of the sport, which was ultimately won by Australia, had nearly 10,000 hours of live coverage across TV and digital platforms in 200 countries - more than ever before.
That saw it reach a highest-ever cumulative television audience of 167 million for the biennial tournament, which was first played in 2007.
The match between India and Pakistan became the most-viewed T20I match in history, with 15.9 billion minutes of viewership on India’s Star India Network alone.
In total, India clocked up 112 billion minutes of viewership throughout the tournament, with the ICC flagging “a healthy 18.5 per cent” of that audience as being children below the age of 15.
Patrick Kinch, sport analyst at GlobalData, commented: “These viewing figures will reassure the Board of Cricket Control India (BCCI) that they can secure a 100% increase in the value of their Indian Premier League rights over the property’s next four-year cycle."
He continued: "Star’s current contract with the BCCI for the IPL expires in 2022, and is reportedly worth $2.55bn over five years ...
"Newly established franchises in Ahmedabad and Lucknow were purchased by private equity firm CVC and Indian investment vehicle RPSG Ventures for a combined $1.7bn in October 2021, indicating the investment opportunity that cricket represents, given media rights have largely remained stable during the pandemic."
Elsewhere, viewership rose by 7 per cent in the UK, 7.3 per cent in Pakistan and 175 per cent on Australia’s Fox Network.
In the US, which will co-host the 2024 edition alongside the West Indies, this year’s T20 World Cup was the most-viewed cricket tournament ever on the ESPN+ streaming service.
The ICC’s partnership with Facebook led to 4.3 billion video views across digital channels, compared to 3.6 billion in 2019, while the ICC’s social media channels saw a 28 per cent growth in engagement to 618 million from 2019.
Geoff Allardice, chief executive of the ICC, said: “We are pleased with these outstanding global viewership numbers, that demonstrate the power of T20I cricket to attract a huge audience across the globe on linear and digital platforms.
“It reinforces our belief that there is a significant opportunity and appetite to grow the game in our strategic growth markets including the USA, so more fans can enjoy it, more kids are inspired by it and sponsors and broadcasters want to be a part of it.”