The seventh edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) is well into its second half and has presented a number of highly entertaining games of football so far. It became the first domestic league competition to be held in India post the pandemic-induced lockdown when it started in the third week of November and has since evolved into a much talked about topic all over the country.
In its first week, the competition garnered 3.42 billion viewing minutes compared to 3.16 billion last season, according to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data. The overall pan-India spike in viewing percentage is 16%, with an 18% increase in Hindi-speaking markets and 14% in the south. Male 15+AB urban viewers clocked a TVR of 0.41 which is a 5% increase from the previous season (0.39). Similarly, the same demographic has also registered greater time spent viewing (TSV) this season.
One of the main attractions in the buildup to the ISL this season was the fact that the two ‘big’ Kolkata clubs, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan were both entering the league. That has obviously played a part in the increase in viewership in West Bengal while Kerala, which is another footballing stronghold, has also delivered improved numbers. In fact, the league’s ratings on Asianet, that telecasts sports in Malayalam, has been better than that of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020. However, what is heartening to see is that traditionally non-footballing states like Odisha, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have also registered greater viewership.
As far as social media is concerned, there has been a drastic increase in engagement there as well. Mentions between the 20th and 28th of November increased by a massive 110% from 162,000 to 339,000 while the google search index doubled from 23 to 46. A lot of these improved numbers are down to a more holistic broadcasting approach from Star India which has used fan interaction and a linguistically diverse telecast portfolio to reach out to more people. Features like the ‘Fan Wall’, which became a popular aspect of watching the IPL, was brought over to the ISL as well and is just one example of how engagement has been increased. It is up to the league now to build on this platform and keep bettering itself year upon year.