The opening match of IPL 2020 between the Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) clocked the highest ever opening-day viewership for any sporting league in the world, revealed Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah.
As per a Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) survey, a record 20 crore people tuned in to Star Sports India and Disney+ Hotstar to watch the IPL opener on September 19.
“Opening match of #Dream11IPL sets a new record! As per BARC, an unprecedented 20 crore people tuned in to watch the match. Highest ever opening day viewership for any sporting league in any country – no league has ever opened as big as this. @IPL @SGanguly99 @UShanx @DisneyPlusHS...Total viewership on @StarSportsIndia and @DisneyPlusHS,” tweeted Shah.
There can be three reasons for this record. Firstly, IPL is the most popular cricketing event in the country. Secondly, the 13th edition of the cash-rich league was supposed to start on March 29 this year, but got postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. So, the cricket-crazy Indians were hungrier than ever.
Last, but not the least, CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni returned to the cricket field after 436 days. He was last seen in action in the World Cup semi-final loss against New Zealand in June 2019. So, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see people tuning in right from the toss.
CSK began IPL 2020 with a five-wicket win over MI
It turned out to be a happy affair for all MS Dhoni fans as CSK kickstarted their campaign with a five-wicket win over defending champions MI. After restricting the Mumbai-based franchise to 162, Ambati Rayudu (71) and Faf du Plessis (58 not out) helped CSK over the line.
Neutral cricket fans too had a good time as the match remained evenly poised till the 19th over, before du Plessis sealed the game by smashing Trent Boult for two boundaries off the first two balls.
While MS Dhoni will once again lead his boys out tonight against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Sharjah, MI have their next game against two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) tomorrow in Abu Dhabi.
Published 22 Sep 2020, 16:00 IST