IPL 2021: Rampant Covid-19 pandemic badly affects viewership, ratings decline by almost 35% as compared to last year

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) also revealed the data for the most-watched programs which included 5 IPL 2021 matches in the top 5 list.

Abhinav Goel Author

Updated - 1 May 2021 4:35 pm

The Indian Premier League 2021 is on in full swing and has almost reached the halfway stage of the league matches. The cricketing extravaganza is watched every year by a huge number of people in India and also, all over the world. However, the viewership has taken a hit this year due to the raging Covid-19 pandemic, according to the data provided by television ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India.

Viewership down by 35% in comparison to IPL 2020

The viewership numbers for the opening game between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore went down by almost 25-30%. More importantly, the numbers for both the reach and the viewing minutes of IPL 2021 on Star Sports Network are down by almost 30-35% in comparison to last edition. The viewing minutes for the first 17 matches in IPL 2021 stood at 6.62 billion compared to 8.34 billion for the first 14 matches in IPL 2020. While the first 17 matches of IPL 2021 attained a cumulative reach of 105 million viewers, the first 14 matches of IPL 2020 had a cumulative reach of 116 million viewers.

Viewing Minutes – BARC India data for India 2+/ TV Only/ Live Matches Only

IPL 2021 – 6.62 Billion for first 17 matches

IPL 2020 – 8.34 Billion for first 14 matches

IPL 2019 – 6.07 Billion for first 17 matches

Cumulative Reach – BARC India data for India 2+/ TV Only/ Live Matches Only

IPL 2021 – 105 Million viewers for first 17 matches

IPL 2020 – 116 Million Viewers for first 14 matches

IPL 2019 – 101 Million Viewers for first 17 matches

Despite the considerable decline in the viewership for IPL 2021, it retained its position as the No. 1 property on television. According to the TV ratings of week three of IPL 2021, the Live Matches are the most viewed programs of the week by a huge margin. IPL 2021 on Star Sports Network has managed to be at the top for 3 weeks straight and the Star Sports 1 Hindi channel gathered the most number of viewership.

Mumbai Indians matches most-watched among all the teams

Mumbai Indians topped the weekly viewership charts as three of top five most-watched programs on the television featured the defending champions. According to the data, match 17 of IPL 2021 between Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings was the most-watched between April 16 to 23. The 2nd spot on the list for most watched programs was taken by Match 15 between the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Ratings expected to soar with CSK vs MI Clash

Heavyweights Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings will cross swords at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi in Match 27 on Saturday, May 1. The viewership ratings are expected to be at an all-time high in this forthcoming match since MI and CSK are two of the most fearsome and successful teams in the cash-rich league.