The 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup held in South Africa earlier this year has become the most-watched tournament in women’s cricket history, racking 192 million global viewing hours.
The national teams tournament, which was postponed from 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and was ultimately played between February 10 and 26 this year, saw Australia crowned champions for the sixth time after beating hosts South Africa in the sold-out Cape Town final.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) governing body said overall viewership figures for the event broke records, with 790% more fans tuning in to the competition worldwide compared to the previous edition in 2020 held in Australia.
Broadcast figures in South Africa saw a 130% increase in live coverage, including the final, which was broadcast on free-to-air television. Pay-television broadcaster SuperSport holds the rights to show ICC events in the country, as well as 52 Africa territories under a new deal struck last month.
Despite England only reaching the semi-finals, the UK recorded 6.9 million viewing hours (up 26% from 2020 and 16% from the 2018 event), while India saw a 57% increase in its total live viewing hours. Pay-television broadcaster Sky holds the rights to ICC events in the UK.
Overall, the most-watched game in India was India’s win against Pakistan, which saw 32.8 million live viewing hours across rightsholder Star Sports and Disney+Hotstar.
The ICC said the tournament also clocked up 1.39 billion video views, a 26% increase from the last record-breaking Women’s T20 World Cup, which saw 1.1 billion video views (a 131% increase on the 2018 edition hosted by the West Indies).
Across the ICC website and app, the tournament attracted the highest-ever audience for a women’s event, with 12.5 unique users across both platforms – 20% higher than last year’s World Cup in New Zealand.
The site and app had several new features for the tournament, including VR ShotTracker, where fans could see an augmented replay of every six, a vertical video feed including in-game and match highlights from every game, and a number of in stadia activations for fans in attendance.
The tournament’s content series on social media platform Instagram aimed at younger audiences in India also gained more than 344 million video views.
ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice said: “The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 broadcast and digital numbers are another example of the excellent progress that is being made to accelerate the growth of women’s cricket. As a strategic priority for the sport, we are working hard to engage fans and new audiences with our ICC Women’s events.
“For what was a game-changing event for women’s cricket in South Africa with some exciting and competitive cricket, there was also increased engagement numbers in other key markets in India and the UK which is very pleasing to see.”
“The approach to digital innovation for ICC Women’s events has also seen an uplift in fans engagement with the World Cup and our focus is to continue to provide audiences engaging content throughout the year to fulfill that growing demand.”
The next Women’s T20 World Cup will be held in Bangladesh next year.