That’s a 30.5% jump over last year’s opening clash between the same two teams – of 7.97 TVR. Until now, the highest debut match rating was a TVR of 8.21 in the inaugural season of the IPL in 2008.
TVR is the percentage of the viewers who viewed the event or programme, averaged across minutes. Even the reach went up by over 23% to 160 million from 130 million last season.
Reach is the total number of individuals who viewed the event for at least one minute.
Experts say that the higher viewership can be attributed to multiple factors but the main reason for the spike in viewership has been no alternative entertainment avenues due to the pandemic, an early start for the match (7:30 pm instead of 8 pm), and the resumption of live sporting action featuring top Indian players after almost six months.
“This is not at all surprising and comes as a validation for all the sponsors… that have reposed so much faith in investing in this property,” said Tuhin Mishra, MD of sports marketing firm Baseline Ventures.
Star India is airing IPL live across 20 channels, including standard and high-definition (HD) feeds, compared to 25 channels last season.
“That the IPL will be big this year was a given. But that viewership numbers would surpass the first ever IPL opening day numbers was not something anyone could have imagined,” said another sports marketer.
Meanwhile, Jay Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), tweeted that over 200 million people watched the opening day match, making it the highest-ever opening day viewership for any sporting league in any country.
The higher increase in TVR compared with reach indicates that viewers spent more time watching the match compared with last year.
However, the detailed viewership numbers were not immediately available. Star Sports and BARC India did not share viewership details.
BARC data for the week (September 19-25) will be officially released on October 1. Star India had sold over 95% of the inventory of IPL before the start of the league.
IPL 2020 began on September 19 in the UAE.