IPL 2020: Opening game sets global sports viewership record after 200m tune in to watch Chennai beat Mumbai

Saturday's game attracted the largest TV audience in history for the opening match of any domestic league competition

Chennai Super Kings, in yellow, beat Mumbai Indians in the first game of the 2020 IPL. Vipin Pawar / Sportzpics for BCCI
Chennai Super Kings, in yellow, beat Mumbai Indians in the first game of the 2020 IPL. Vipin Pawar / Sportzpics for BCCI

The first match of the 2020 IPL drew the highest TV audience of any opening fixture of any league in the world, according to one of its lead administrator.

Chennai Super Kings beat Mumbai Indians in the opening game of the new season on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi.

Although there were no spectators permitted in the stands at the Zayed Cricket Stadium due to coronavirus safety measures, the TV audience was expected to be vast.

Jay Shah, the secretary for the Board of Control for Cricket in India, said on Tuesday the fixture attracted the largest viewership in history for the opening match of any domestic league competition.

Shah said 200 million people had tuned in to watch, quoting analysis by the Broadcast Audience Ratings Council India.

“Opening match of [Dream11 IPL] sets a new record,” Shah wrote on social media. “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 this big.”

With the start of the IPL delayed by seven months due to the Covid pandemic, as well as the fact supporters were unable to attend, it was predicted the TV audience for this competition would be record-setting.

“[The broadcasters] are actually expecting the highest rating of IPL this season because they believe if supporters don’t turn up in the ground, they will be watching on their television sets,” Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, said last month.

Published: September 22, 2020 02:51 PM

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