In a remarkable turn of events, the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 final between India and Australia has etched its name in the annals of cricketing glory. This encounter not only showcased a riveting clash on the field but also set ablaze television viewership records, creating an unprecedented spectacle for fans worldwide.
To delve into the numbers is to unravel the sheer magnitude of this historic achievement. The media rights holder, Disney Star, revealed a staggering 30 crore viewers for the final, firmly establishing it as the most-watched cricket match in the history of Indian television.
BARC India data adds another layer to this narrative, unveiling that the cumulative viewership for the entire World Cup surpassed a monumental half a billion. An astounding 51.8 crore individuals tuned in to witness the gripping matches on linear TV, resulting in a colossal 422 billion minutes of total consumption.
This colossal viewership not only broke previous records but also solidified the World Cup 2023 as the largest ever in the tournament’s storied history.
Pinnacle of Simultaneous Engagement
The pinnacle of simultaneous engagement was undoubtedly the final’s peak concurrency on television. An awe-inspiring 13.05 crore viewers tuned in simultaneously, shattering all previous records and creating an unparalleled moment in sports broadcasting.
Beyond the traditional television landscape, the World Cup’s triumph extended into the digital realm. The final, broadcasted on Disney+Hotstar, achieved a groundbreaking high concurrency of 5.9 crores, setting a new global record for any live sports event.
Even as India faced challenges during the tournament, digital viewership remained resilient, surpassing the peak concurrency during the IPL on a rival platform.
Celebrating BCCI’s Perspective
Amidst the numbers, Jay Shah, the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), emerged as a vocal advocate for the unparalleled success of the World Cup 2023. Shah celebrated the staggering 30 crore TV viewers for the final, emphasizing the historic peak TV concurrency of 13 crore.
Acknowledging the unwavering support of Indian cricket fans, Shah’s post reflected gratitude and a deep appreciation for the patriotic fervor accompanying the sport in India.
Under Shah’s leadership, the BCCI has witnessed significant milestones, including the construction of the iconic Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, which hosted the memorable final.
Digital Rights and Future Prospects
The success of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 was not solely attributed to gripping on-field action but also to strategic moves in the digital realm. Disney’s acquisition of digital and streaming rights for ICC tournaments in India from 2024 to 2027, involving an investment of around $3 billion, played a pivotal role in the extensive coverage and success of the World Cup.
The digital platform’s strategy, including free streaming of World Cup cricket on smartphones, aimed to boost advertising revenue, offsetting the potential impact of a subscriber exodus.
Furthermore, Disney’s exclusive broadcast of the World Cup with 11 feeds across nine languages showcased a commitment to providing diverse coverage.
The Dynamic Future of Disney
The success of the World Cup comes at a pivotal time for Disney’s operations in India. Reports in October indicated that Reliance Industries Ltd was nearing a deal to buy Walt Disney Co.’s India operations, valued at around $10 billion.
In July, Disney explored options to sell or find a partner for its India assets, holding talks with figures like Gautam Adani and Kalanithi Maran, as well as private equity firm Blackstone. The fate of Disney’s India business remains uncertain, and the success of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 may influence any potential deal.
In conclusion, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 final has not only etched its name in cricketing history but has also left an indelible mark on the canvas of Indian television. The seamless integration of traditional television and digital platforms, as exemplified by Disney Star, signifies a paradigm shift in sports consumption trends.
With record-breaking numbers, the World Cup has reaffirmed cricket’s status as a unifying force in India, bringing together millions under the sport’s banner. Collaborative efforts of entities like BCCI and Disney Star, coupled with visionary leadership, propel cricket to new heights.
As the digital landscape evolves and with the promise of future ICC tournaments, the success of the World Cup 2023 sets an optimistic tone for the future of sports consumption in India. The synergy between traditional television and digital platforms will continue to redefine how fans engage with their favorite sport.
Developments in Disney’s future operations in India add another layer to the evolving narrative of media and entertainment in the country. The dynamics are shifting, and the World Cup’s triumph is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the sporting and broadcasting landscape in India.