LONDON: A record 269 million viewers tuned in for the opening week of this year's Indian Premier League (IPL), which is being held in the United Arab Emirates due to the COVID-19 crisis, with viewing minutes up 15per cent, data released on Thursday showed.
The Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC) said the first seven matches of the tournament's 13th edition from Sept. 19 to 25 had 60.6 billion viewing minutes, 15per cent more than the opening week of the 2019 edition (52.8 billion).
"We're thrilled to deliver the biggest ever IPL. The opening week... resulted in a staggering new viewership record," Gautam Thakar, the CEO of broadcaster Star Sports said in a statement.
"Dream11 IPL 2020 wouldn't have been possible without the support of all our sponsors and stakeholders. Our teams are working tirelessly in a bio-secure bubble in India and UAE to bring fans closer to the game."
The increase in viewership for the 2020 edition - up from 268 million viewers in 2019, was despite there being only seven matches in the opening week, one fewer than last year, BARC said.
The season opener between champions Mumbai Indians and three-times winners Chennai Super Kings on Sept. 19 was watched by 158 million viewers, it added.