The news that the IPL is likely to take place in the United Arab Emirates in September will be music to the ears of cricket-starved Indians.
The window in cricket’s calendar has opened up as a result of the ICC’s decision to delay the T20 World Cup, which was scheduled to be held in Australia in October, but which will now be held a year later.
As a result, the IPL will begin on 19 September, with the final likely to take seven weeks later place on 8 November.
The fact is that, even in the absence of any live cricket during India’s COVID-19 lockdown, other sports barely made a dent in cricket’s market. As the chart below shows, cricket’s share of sports viewing never dropped below 30%, even in the teeth of other league restarts – like those of Germany’s Bundesliga and the English Premier League.
And although the national side’s fixture list remains uncertain, we anticipate that the return of live cricket in the shape of the IPL will see a huge surge in watching amongst viewers who have, for months, been limited to re-runs of classic games.
The chart above shows our growth predictions for the league. As you can see, our calculations suggest an increase of over a third (36%) in average minute audience for the property – and that’s despite the fact it won’t take place on home pitches.
The increase, predicted by an intelligent genetic algorithm, are based around historic growth and take into account the absence of recent live sport, the change of venue and time and the growing buzz around the property.
Even though 2019 was a bumper year for organisers, teams and sponsors, it looks like 2020 will beat it hands down. Cricket fans will not be able to wait.