The Indian Premier League is arguably the biggest franchise T20 league in the world with huge amounts of money and some of the biggest cricketing stars involved. The fan interest in the IPL has always been on the high end, as a matter of fact, it is one of the most-watched leagues across the globe.
The 2022 season of the tournament is in full swing over the past few weeks but this time around the numbers paint a very different story. According to the official TV ratings provided by BARCIndia, the first week of IPL saw a decline of 33% as compared to the previous edition while the overall viewership has also seen a decrease of 14%.
Furthermore, the opening week of IPL 2022 saw only two matches cross the 100 million views mark. In comparison, 4 matches had crossed 100 million views in the first week of last year’s IPL while 7 out of 8 matches crossed the same mark back in 2019.
The data clearly shows a steep decline in the ratings of India’s premier T20 tournament, so let’s have a look at 5 reasons behind this phenomenon.
1. Long Tournament
The 2022 season features 10 teams in a grueling 74 match tournament which is scheduled to be played for almost two months. In comparison, tournaments such as Pakistan Super League (PSL) and Caribbean Premier League (CPL) contain six teams and are wrapped up within one month.
The short tournament enables the fans to keep up to date with every aspect of the competition and it gets concluded in a short amount of time. In this day and age, with the attention spans of the consumers ever decreasing, shorter and quicker tournaments pique the interest of the fans.
2. Lack of Star Power
IPL is renowned for bringing some of the biggest superstars from across the globe, barring Pakistani players. The likes of AB De Villiers, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Chris Gayle, and Suresh Raina have been an integral part of the IPL over the better part of the decade. Their absence from the tournament this time around has left a huge gap to be filled.
Former South African captain, AB de Villiers, is one of the most celebrated players in the game’s history. His chemistry alongside former Indian captain, Virat Kohli, was one of the most attractive parts of the tournament. His retirement from the game did not only have an impact on the overall quality of the tournament but it also had an adverse impact on the viewership numbers.
3. Too Many Changes
The 2022 season of IPL saw the introduction of two new teams, Gujrat Titans and Lucknow SuperGiants. This led to a mega auction prior to the start of the tournament which resulted in too many squad changes. Rashid Khan and David Warner switched from Sunrisers Hyderabad, Hardik and Krunal Pandya transferred from Mumbai Indians, while KL Rahul moved from Punjab Kings to captain Lucknow.
This has led to a lack of familiarity for not only the passionate fan bases of the respective sides but also the casual watchers. The interest of the casual fans declines even further when there is a lack of connection.
4. Underperforming Indian Superstars
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, and Rohit Sharma are arguably the most followed superstars currently active in India. All three players have struggled for form on a consistent basis, except Dhoni playing one match-winning innings in the tournament, which has led to a dip in interest from their fans.
Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, and Royal Challengers Bangalore are the three most followed teams in the tournament and all three teams have been underperforming with Mumbai and Chennai lingering at the last two spots. MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli not leading their respective franchises has also led a lot of casual cricket fans to feel alienated.
5. Feels Scripted
There has been a myth about IPL and many other such leagues around the world that the outcome of the matches has been pre-planned. While there is little truth to that, even the people who do not believe in such conspiracy theories will have doubts about the way some matches this season have finished.
The recent encounter between Gujrat Titans and Sunrisers Hyderabad is a prime example. With Gujrat requiring 47 runs from 18 balls, it was hardly a surprise that they managed to chase it down, rather it was expected. Such finishes have become a staple of the tournament and one can wonder how frequently such close finishes can happen in one tournament.
What do you think? Does IPL still garner huge interest from the fans? Write down your suggestions!