Industry experts share their views on the reasons for the rise of female viewership and increased brand interest in live cricketing events like ICC World T20.
The world of Indian cricket has always been more than just a sport. It has been a crowd-puller with hundreds of millions of loyal fans. But in the last decade or so, the viewership of the so-called gentleman’s game has undergone a new turn with the women’s viewership compounding year-on-year. This not just showcases the diversification in the audience of the game, but could also be taken as a cultural shift – increasing interest among women, leading to a strong foundation for other sports as well.
Female viewership for Live Cricket has been growing every year. This could be due to multiple reasons: fanhood of Cricket personalities, co-viewers who now watch it independently and the increased affinity for Cricket due to great success at the international level.Sujata Dwibedy, Group Trading Director, Amplifi, dentsu international
Mamatha Morvanakar, media industry veteran and independent consultant, agrees that there is an increase in women viewership for cricketing events with the viewership now at 35:65 for women and men respectively, and this is happening because of the Cricketers themselves and the formats of the game making it more engaging and entertaining.
India Cricket both male and female Cricket has created young stars who can be seen as achievers and who are sharing their life and achievements and becoming influencers through various platforms bringing a strong connect across consumers which includes a stronger base of women audiences.Mamatha Morvanakar
As per Sprinklr, the number of unique Women authors mentioning Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni during the period of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 was higher than the mainstream Bollywood actors.
The female cumulative reach for 2019 World Cup is 244 million; a whopping 60% of total female TV viewing audience. This makes cricket the largest aggregator in terms of women audience and has been consistent year-on-year to keep the audience hooked – something which has made cricket stand out.
This growing interest and the new set of eyeballs have further allowed, both family-oriented as well female-driven, brands a unique opportunity to reach out to a massive audience set. It has offered them an opportunity to promote, upsell and grab the undivided attention of millions of fans with a comparatively higher attention rate. Across brand categories – FMCG, fintech, edutech, cryptocurrencies, etc- partner with live cricketing events. As per, Global Web Index (Female Cricket World Cup viewer compared to all internet users in India) Data – Likelihood to Purchase, in the coming months, sectors like auto, financial products, electronics and personal care is the highest amongst women cricket viewers as compared of non-cricket women viewers.
Also, it’s not just the women fans of the game but due to the patriotism fervour, events like ICC World Cup also drive not so active cricket women followers who watch it with their families.
But what are the reasons for such growth and increased interest from brands?
The women viewership is going to continue through IPL and ICC World T20. Ever since IPL began, there has been induction of women in cricket due to the entertainment factor. The same is the case with international series like ICC World T20 that attracts substantial women audiences. Today, the attention span of viewers is somewhere around 8 seconds. In the case of cricket, where one gets ads only between overs, wickets, etc, viewership is equivalent to the game itself. Hence, it’s worth paying a premium because the advertisers could be sure that their ad will get the eyeballs – as compared to GECs or other genres. Live cricket gives you sticky eyeballs.Divya Radhakrishnan, managing director, Helios Media
As per Sujata, “This increase in viewership among women in live cricket is also because of the increased footprint through Regional Channels and other mass Channel airings. It also became more appealing to women with the shorter formats. These formats increased the fun elements in addition to having female commentators, which kind of made Cricket accessible/aspirational for women. The argument is also the ROI, cost efficiencies, etc. on sports which has less of women-centric advertiser clutter along with reaching the same audience at better efficiencies with better attention.”
With the ongoing IPL and upcoming ICC World T20, the next 45 days will be packed with a high exhilaration and anticipation from both fans as well advertisers. And with a diverse audience – with substantial women audience – it remains to be seen this year’s turnout & how other genres are going to compete with the rest of the audience – a comparatively smaller lot. For the brands, the festive season is approaching which is a time when marketing spends are the most. With IPL almost on its last leg, the upcoming World Cup T20 2021 seems to be an ideal choice for brands to leverage the nationalistic fervour and reach out to almost half a billion loyalists of the game.