Star shuttler PV Sindhu hit the headlines after her historic silver-winning performance at the BWF World Championships 2017 where she lost out to Japan's Nozomi Okuhara in a titanic clash in the final on August 27. The match, which ended 19-21 22-20 20-22 after a whopping 110 minutes, was hailed as one the greatest in the history of the sport and left viewers across the world spellbound.
The final had social media buzzing and given the fact that the Indian cricket team was facing off against Sri Lanka in a One Day International match, many people pointed out that Sindhu had 'forced' people to switch from cricket to badminton. However, a look at the official numbers reveals a completely different outcome. While there are various of factors that need to be considered, one thing that stands out for sure is that cricket still rules the roost when it comes to viewership in India.
Thanks to data provided by the Broadcast Audience Research Council India to Sportskeeda, it is possible to take a look at which two programs garnered more viewership on television. The BWF World Championships women's singles final, in its entirety, received a total of a little over half-a-million impressions in India, with the exact figure standing at 561,000.
In the same two-hour span (19:22 to 21:36) in which the badminton match took place, the ongoing third One Day International between India and Sri Lanka garnered 22.5 million impressions, nearly 40 times the number for the Sindhu vs Okuhara final. The difference is stark but there are a few things one needs to keep in mind while comparing the two figures.
The badminton final was aired on two channels, namely Star Sports 1 HD and SD, out of which the high-definition variant has a negligible share. On the other hand, the ODI was beamed across the nation on Sony Six HD and two SD channels - Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six, along with DD National, which is a free-to-air channel and has a wide reach across the nation.
Additionally, a point that can be raised is that Indian team were batting at the time the World Championship final was on, which is why viewers opted to stick to the cricket more.
A look at the minute-by-minute viewership numbers of the badminton final also reveals some interesting things:
The match started at 7.23 PM and as it can be observed, the viewership increased as the first game began and wore on. Okuhara was victorious and as soon as it finished 7.53 PM, there is a steep fall in the viewership numbers as the players took a break and users switched to other channels.
The same trend can be observed in the second game as well, which also went the full distance, and it neared its finishing point, the viewership climbed continuously and peaked at the final one, which the Indian shuttler won after an epic 73-shot rally.
There is a huge decline before the start of the decider and but the viewers do return once the action gets underway. However, early in the game, there is another sharp fall, presumably because Sindhu started slowly in the decider and fell 5-1 behind at one stage.
However, she equalized soon enough at 5-5 and from there, it was neck-to-neck at each point. And in a few minutes, the peak for the second game is crossed, with the graph going up and down, but showing an upward trend overall. The maximum level is obtained at match point at 9.18 PM, and as Sindhu loses out in the dying moments, there is understandably a steep fall.
There is no doubt a huge difference in the viewership of both events and expectedly, so cricket does have the upper hand. However, one must keep in mind the number of channels on which the match was telecast, which included DD National. The trend for badminton is encouraging though and one hopes that in future tournaments, the total figures are even higher!Published 12 Sep 2017, 17:43 IST