Although there has been a lot of buzz around the 9th edition of the Indian Premier League, the latest television ratings for the tournament tell a completely different story as per reports. The figures have been derived based on viewership in the first week of the 2016 IPL and they point out a steep decline in comparison with the ratings at a similar stage last year.
According to a new rating system introduced by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), the IPL's average TVR (Television Viewership Rating) was 3.50 in its first 6 matches this year. This is a sharp descent from the average figure of 4.50 recorded during the first week of the 2015 season.
A match-wise breakdown of the TVR shows that the opening game between MI and RPS had a rating of 3.24 whereas the KKR-DD encounter on the following day attracted just 2.55. The next five matches had figures of 2.98, 3.50, 3.66, 2.86 and 2.23 respectively. The 5th match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians had the highest viewership rating during this period.
In stark contrast to this, the first match of the 2015 IPL had a TVR of 5.4 while the next four matches showed figures of 4.7, 4.5, 2.4 and 5.3. Looking back at some of the previous seasons will give a better idea of how the ongoing season of the world's most popular T20 league has performed in terms of viewership.
The 2011 season had a TVR of 3.76 during the initial stages and this figure went up a few notches in 2012 to a record high of 4.64. The rating declined to 3.8 after the first 5 matches of the 2013 IPL and fell even further to 3.1 in the 2014 edition, which is the lowest in the last 5 years.
However, numerous media experts have raised concerns that the sample size being considered for calculating the TVR is too small and does not reveal the true picture. Taking into account the fact that more than 50 matches are due to be played this year, these figures may not be entirely reliable.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to deny the fact that the IPL is somehow starting to lose its charm.