Why the IPL is more popular than ever in the UK

The IPL is more popular than ever in the UK, with more than 250,000 people watching each game on average in the past two weeks.

The latest figures from BARB (Broadcasters Audience Research Board) suggest the IPL is actually more popular than the English Premier League’s controversial new Pay Per View scheme.

Cricket has always been second favourite to the Premier League in the UK, but research from Cricket Bet India suggests the IPL has never been more popular, with Sky Sports Cricket drawing in 1,797,000 live viewers from October 12-18 – an average of 256,714 per day.

Key findings (according to BARB)

Using the latest figures available courtesy of BARB, we can see that there are far more viewers on average per day on Sky Sports Cricket when compared to the same stage (the middle month, excluding international fixtures) of the 2019 IPL.

Dates 2019 Dates 2020
1-7 April 160,000 28-4 October 361,428
8-14 April 116,000 5-11 October 252,285
15-21 April 153,000 12-18 October 256,714
22-28 April 206,000 19-26 October Not yet available
(Daily Reach of Sky Sports Cricket)

These figures show us that during the middle of the tournament – that is to say excluding the opening games and the play-offs, which often coincide with international games on Sky Sports Cricket – there has already been a 35% rise in overall viewers of the IPL, and that doesn’t even take into account the missing week of data for 2020.

Further data reveals that this massive rise in popularity is actually at odds with the English Premier League, which has introduced a new pay-per-view scheme on Sky Sports and BT Sport to ask fans to make extra one-off payments for certain matches, outside of their usual subscriptions.

This has proved to be hugely unpopular with fans, and as a result there have been shockingly low audiences tune in for some of the games placed on the PPV channels, as detailed below.

Game Viewers Price
Burnley v West Brom Less than 10,000 £14.95
Leicester v Aston Villa 20,000 £14.95
Liverpool v Sheffield United 60,000 £14.95
Newcastle v Manchester United 40,000 £14.95
Arsenal v Leicester 140,000 £14.95
(Using BARB data for Sky Box Office only)

This shows us that while the EPL remains hugely popular in the UK and around the world, there is a growing appetite for live IPL action and a reluctance to pay for the PPV football.

By contrast, Manchester United v Chelsea on Saturday 24 October drew an audience of 1,300,000.

The IPL still has a way to go to catch up to the overall value and popularity of the EPL, but as discussed in our IPL v EPL study, it’s current rate of growth (11% year-on-year) makes it one of the fastest growing brands on the planet.

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