The International Cricket Council has claimed that the Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 was one of the most-watched women’s sporting events in history.
The tournament, in its seventh edition, was held in Australia from February 21 running through to March 8, with the final between Australia and India played out at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground on International Women’s Day.
Much of the record viewing figures were due to the success of the Indian women’s team in making it to the final. Their presence boosted global audience interest, with total worldwide viewership for the knockout stages recorded at 423 per cent higher than 2018.
India’s live viewing hours were 86.15 million, which represents a 152 per cent increase over the comparable figures for the 2018 tournament, driven by the Indian team’s success and the broadcast of select India matches by Star Sports in five languages (English, Hindi, Tamil, Telegu and Kannada) in India, the ICC said.
Hosts and tournament winners Australia’s live viewing hours were 13.45m which is 473 per cent higher than the 2018 tournament, driven by their hosting and an increase in coverage on the free-to-air channels.
The final recorded an average audience of 1.2 million viewers, making it the most-watched women’s cricket match in Australian broadcast history.
South Africa recorded 647,000 live viewing hours, 40 per cent higher than 2018. In the UK, despite the time difference, live viewing hours were only 8 per cent lower (at 5.32m) than the 2018 tournament, where England made it to the final.
England’s opening group match against South Africa was the most-watched match in the country, with an average audience of 259,000. This is the highest UK audience for a group stage match at an ICC women’s event since BARB records began in 2009.
ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: “We are delighted with these outstanding global viewership numbers that demonstrate the power of women’s cricket to attract huge audiences across the globe.
“It reinforces our belief that there is a significant opportunity around the women’s game and collectively we must promote it further so more fans can enjoy it, more kids are inspired by it and sponsors and broadcasters want to be a part of it.”
The event was also fortunate to avoid the shutdown of its host nations borders which now threaten the men’s Twenty20 World Cup cricket tournament. Scheduled to run from October 18 to November 15 the event looks increasingly likely to be postponed.