Digital Platforms Score Big in Cricket Viewership Ahead of ICC T20 World Cup 2024

The landscape of sports viewership has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, particularly in cricket, one of the globe’s most beloved sports.

As we edge closer to the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, it’s imperative for advertisers to understand where cricket fans are tuning in, especially in light of the notable shift from traditional TV to digital platforms witnessed throughout 2023.

The Digital Ascendancy in Cricket Viewership

In 2023, a clear trend emerged: a significant portion of cricket enthusiasts chose digital platforms over traditional television to follow their favorite sport, with digital viewership estimated at ~29.5 million unique viewers for the ICC World Cup 2023. This shift is attributed to the flexibility digital platforms offer, allowing fans to watch matches on the go and on demand, coupled with the enhanced interactive features that enrich the viewing experience.

The proliferation of streaming services, each vying for viewership with exclusive content and accessibility features, further testifies to the digital dominance in sports broadcasting.

Distinct Audiences: TV vs. Digital

The cricket audience is not a monolith but is rather divided in its platform preference. Some viewers remain loyal to the traditional TV experience, valuing the larger screen and the communal aspect of watching a game. In contrast, digital-first viewers prioritize convenience, seeking out platforms that offer instant access, multi-view options, and in-depth analytics. This division underscores the need for advertisers to adopt a nuanced approach, recognizing the unique characteristics and preferences of each audience segment.

Digital viewership tends to skew towards younger age groups (15-34), while TV remains popular among older demographics. Preference among channels and apps showed a strong inclination towards long-standing TV channels like PTV Sports (70%) and digital platforms offering free ad-supported streaming, notably Tamasha (73% for the World Cup), indicating a diverse yet distinctly segmented viewership landscape.

Perceived vs. Actual Reach: A Reality Check for TV

Despite the enduring perception of TV as the king of mass reach, the reality in the context of cricket viewership tells a different story. Studies and viewer data from 2023 reveal that the actual reach of TV (~30 million unique viewers for the ICC World Cup 2023) and digital platforms is surprisingly similar, with minimal overlap between the audiences. This challenges the traditional prioritization of TV in advertising budgets and calls for a reassessment of where advertisers’ messages are most likely to be seen and acted upon.

Navigating Ad Spend: The Cost Disparity

The cost of advertising during cricket events, particularly on TV, has historically been high, driven by the assumption of unparalleled reach and engagement. However, the evolving viewership trends necessitate a critical evaluation of these investments.

Digital platforms offer not only competitive reach but also advanced targeting capabilities, potentially delivering a higher return on investment. The disproportionate cost of TV commercials, especially during premium cricket events like the ICC T20 World Cup, further amplifies the need for advertisers to diversify their channel mix.

For brands looking to capitalize on the cricket fervor surrounding the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, a balanced and data-driven communication strategy is essential. This entails not just splitting budgets across TV and digital but also tailoring content and messaging to resonate with the distinct audiences across each platform. Integrating insights from viewership data and consumer behavior patterns in 2023 can guide advertisers in optimizing their channel mix, ensuring they reach their target audience effectively and efficiently.

The shift towards digital viewership in cricket is a clear signal for advertisers to adapt and innovate. As the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 approaches, the ability to navigate this changing landscape will be crucial for brands aiming to make an impact. By acknowledging the nuances of cricket viewership, leveraging the strengths of both TV and digital platforms, and employing a data-informed strategy, advertisers can achieve greater engagement and maximize their return on investment in one of the sporting calendar’s most anticipated events.

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