Recently released statsitcs by the Broadcast Audience Research Council of India have tabulated the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) impressions in 2016 at a staggering 102 crore. The annual BCCI report released by Duff and Phelps, also valued the cricketing extravaganza at US$ 4.5 billion (Rs 27,000 crore), making it one of the richest sports leagues in the world.
However, the most stunning revelation from the collected data was the growth percentage of each franchise. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) registered a 300% annual growth last year, close to 100% ahead of Manchester United – who grew 204% in 2015/16.
Reacting to these statistics, BCCI officials said they were hoping to touch the 100 million unique viewership mark this season. A senior official said, “We are looking to further integrate our fan base this year, so that we can push beyond that 100 million mark. That was our personal target last year, but unfortunately we fell short. However, what is really promising to see is the individual brand growth. This indicates that region wise the sport is growing.
“For example KKR, the growth of the brand has massively helped the sport in Bengal. Also IPL has grown substantially in cyber space, we saw a 300% growth in interactions on Twitter, something we didn’t predict would happen. It also quashes rumours that IPL’s viewership is going down; if anything, the medium of consumption is changing.”
In fact, IPL 2015/16 had such a major impact on the Indian economy that it contributed 0.6% to the nation’s GDP. BCCI President Anurag Thakur was optimistic about the league’s future growth. He said, “Nothing makes us more proud that seeing the IPL becoming a mega brand. The new open tender for Digital Broadcasting rights is a step forward for the league’s growth.
“The goal of course is to transcend the 100 million mark, which makes it the most watched league in the world. Despite a few rumours here and there, the core calculated numbers have justified how it’s stronger and moving faster than before.”
The tender for broadcasting rights is said to be for 10 years, with brands such as Star Sports and Sony ESPN being touted as front-runners for a successful bid. With the league contributing a return of Rs 1,150 crore, it looks like the IPL is well on its way to become the most viewed sports league in the world.