The tide for cricket is turning. The last World Cup in 2015, saw an unfortunate number of viewership. But the 2019 Men’s Cricket World Cup was different. The International Cricket Council (ICC) revealed that a global cumulative average audience of 1.6 billion tuned in for the live coverage. It is the most watched ICC event ever in history.

Compared to 2015 World Cup, there was a 38 percent rise in viewership. Also, there were 706 million unique broadcast audience. It would make sense as this was the most widely available tournament ever. There were 25 broadcast partners spread over 200 territories. This resulted in more than 20,000 hours of live action, repeats and highlights reporting. The combination of live cricket that is available across the globe and multitude of broadcasting partners may have increased the numbers and drawn sports fans from different countries to the event.

ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said in an ICC statement, “These quite astounding numbers demonstrate the power of live cricket to connect and engage more deeply with diverse audiences around the world. The theatre and drama of live cricket is compelling, and the added jeopardy of tournament cricket enables our sport to cut through and aggregate audiences like never before even in our increasingly fragmented world.”

So, globally which was the most watched match of the World Cup 2019? ICC says that the India – Pakistan match garnered 273 million unique viewers who tuned in from linear TV coverage. There were another 50 million digital-only viewers.

Even in India, this match was the most viewed. For the India – Pakistan match, out of the 273 million unique TV audience, 233 million were from India, which is a staggering number of viewers. In this cricket-loving nation, the World Cup 2019 was watched by 545 million across TV and digital platforms.

Aarti Dabas, ICC Head of Media Rights, Broadcast and Digital said in the same report, “More people are watching, more hours of cricket on different platforms than ever before. The consumption of live matches on digital platforms is evidence of fans watching live sport differently and wanting to be fully immersed in the sport and this is exciting time for cricket.”

High-speed internet and availability of different viewing platforms has opened up cricket to a wider scope of audience. It is interesting to see how cricket is consumed over time.

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