Live Cricket Match On ESPN2 Scores Impressive Viewing Audience Number

With record cable TV ratings for NBC’s coverage of the Premier League on US television, and the fact that ESPN no longer has rights to the world’s most popular sports league, ESPN tried a new tactic this past weekend by showing a live cricket match on ESPN2 from 9am-Noon ET. The impact? ESPN2 had a viewing audience of 217,000 for the Twenty20 final, which is quite an impressive number indeed for the first time the network has shown a cricket match live on US cable.

Both ESPN and NBC are trying to carve out programming in the morning hours, to generate greater TV ratings and, as a result, generate more significant advertising revenue.

In a recent interview with Hollywood Reporter, here’s what NBC Sports’ President of Programming Jon Miller said:

“The [Premier League] ratings continue to deliver and grow and we’ve uncovered a new daypart. Rarely has anyone gone out and attacked that daypart because most people didn’t think there was an audience there, but we’ve proven that there is from August to May.”

For ESPN2 to garner 217,000 viewers for a cricket match that was hardly promoted is impressive. ESPN is definitely paying attention to what NBC Sports is doing:

“We think cricket has the chance to get out to a broader audience and be on a bigger platform,” said Russell Wolff, executive vice president and managing director of ESPN International.

Now that ESPN has shown that cricket can generate impressive ratings during morning hours, can we expect to see more cricket shown on live US television in the near future? Let’s wait and see.

Meanwhile, on Sunday morning, the Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool was watched by an audience of 398,000 on CNBC.

11 thoughts on “Live Cricket Match On ESPN2 Scores Impressive Viewing Audience Number”

  1. 217,000 people watched cricket that was barely promoted and yet MLS is still struggling to capture these type of numbers.

    1. It was also the world championship final involving india, which has a large following in America. For a true apples to apples comparison, we’d need to see the ratings for a random west indies/South Africa T20 match.

      1. Many Indians would still watch. Just as people don’t tune out of watching the Champions League final because their team isn’t in it. Also, there are cricket followers from England and Australia in this country who would also watch. I’m South African and I watched it.

        1. I completely agree most cricket fans will watch a final. I was specifically talking about regular non-wc matches. You can watch those matches already in the US on Willow channel, but the ratings are pretty dismal, and the commercials imply that Indians are the main viewers.

  2. I understand that the cricket matches are shown on Willow, but more people have access to ESPN 2. I would love to see more and more cricket. This kind of ratings are impressive since hardly anyone even knew it was televised. With more and more marketing, I am pretty sure the ratings are gonna sky rocket. I promise you, ratings will be higher than a soccer match. So ESPN, please continue your coverage. You will not be disappointed.

    1. I agree that had ESPN advertised it better many more people would have watched. I only found out about it from this site. Otherwise I would not have known about it.

  3. With the amount of Asian cricket fans in the US l just see the game getting more exposure. I love cricket so l’ll be watching.

  4. I wish ESPN did a better job of promoting the finals. I stumbled upon the W.I. vs Sri Lanka final last year, and only because of worksoccertalk, I knew about this year’s.

  5. I enjoy T20 cricket. Had I known the match was on I would have watched it. Cricket is pretty much a constant on Watch ESPN (ESPN3). Both semis and the final are still available for viewing.

  6. If you are a sports lover, you will not watch a game because of advertisements. But this fact can’t be ignored that a good advertisement can bring a great amount of viewers of any sport. It could have been more hit if ESPN have promoted the finals in a better way.

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