World Cup 2023: Indian hearts break on the field, records break off it


Sohini Mitter

23 reads

Sohini Mitter

23 reads

The Cricket World Cup 2023 is officially the most successful 50-over World Cup in history, according to the ICC. And while India may have lost the coveted title, it went on to set some impressive records off the field.

November 24, 2023


Several hearts were broken. And some records too.

As the dust settles on the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, with victorious Australia leaving a billion-plus Indians in a state of collective agony, it’s time to take note of the staggering numbers that defined this showpiece event.

Team India may have lost the crown, but the International Cricket Council (ICC) has dubbed the just-concluded World Cup “a statistical wonder”, with a plethora of records being set both on and off the field. As the sole host of the World Cup for the first time, India hit new highs when it came to spectator attendance, viewership on television and digital, ad spends, and more.

An impressive 1.25 million fans thronged stadiums across 10 cities in the 46 days of the tournament, with this edition of the ODI World Cup becoming the most attended ICC event in history. In comparison, the previous World Cup in 2019, hosted by England and Wales, drew 752,000 fans. “The staggering attendance demonstrates the enduring appeal of cricket and excitement the ODI format continues to offer,” Chris Tetley, head of events at ICC, said in a statement.

The six-week extravaganza also led to new broadcasting and streaming records for Star Sports and Disney+ Hotstar, respectively. Hotstar—in pretty much its swansong event—recorded peak live concurrency of 59 million during the India-Australia final on Sunday, bettering its own record of 53 million from the semi-final clash between India and New Zealand prior to that.


Numbers on linear TV were even better. Star Sports clocked 300 million viewers during the India-Australia final, making it the most viewed event on Indian television, per the ICC. Live linear concurrency on TV also hit a new high of 130 million.

"These are just mind-boggling numbers," Sunil Manoharan, VP - media rights at the ICC, stated.

Additional data from the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) revealed that a whopping 430 million viewers tuned in to watch the first 34 matches of the World Cup, collectively clocking 243.6 billion minutes of live watch-time. This is a 10% increase over 2019. “The World Cup has captured the imagination of the public across India with records tumbling and hundreds of millions of fans enjoying the pinnacle event of the one-day game more than ever before,” ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice stated.

Meanwhile, on social media platforms, World Cup 2023 generated 390 million video views halfway through the tournament, according to Comscore. A lion’s share of this came from Indian audiences because of the size of our cricket-watching population. Handles of brands endorsed by Virat Kohli (Puma, One8, MRF Tyres, Wrogn, etc.) clocked record views, running into several millions. “With a wide range of brands that he endorses, Virat Kohli is the biggest needle mover in the advertising world,” Comscore stated in its report.

world cup fans

World Cup 2023 saw a record stadium attendance of 1.25 million across 10 venues, higher than the 752,000 recorded by England and Wales in 2019, according to the ICC.

Advertising and consumption boost

With roaring TV viewership, came soaring advertising rates.

As India stamped its authority on the tournament with an undefeated run of 10 matches until the final, media buyers forked out Rs 30-35 lakh for 10-second ad spots. For the knockout matches featuring India, the spot rates are said to have been higher at Rs 40-45 lakh per 10 seconds. This is almost 5-6X the rates for non-India matches.

Propelled by the home team’s impressive run, with viewership rising every game, Star Sports is estimated to have raked in ad revenues of ~Rs 2,500 crore—a jump of 25% over the 2019 World Cup. Disney+ Hotstar, meanwhile, brought in an additional ~Rs 950 crore, according to Elara Securities. These are astounding numbers, but nobody is batting an eyelid given the enormous cost of cricket advertising in India.

Nearly 200 brands across 50-odd categories advertised during the event.

"India’s [overall] ad expenditure will see a positive impact of ~2.5% in CY23, led by strong spend on the back of CWC 2023," Karan Taurani, SVP at Elara Securities said.

The festive season-led third quarter typically sees buoyant consumer sentiments and the fiscal’s highest ad spends to the tune of ~Rs 40,000 crore. With the World Cup coinciding with this period, overall ad expenditure increased by 7-9% in Q3, even as the larger ad sentiment remains muted otherwise.

The World Cup also boosted India’s domestic consumption, with sectors such as consumer packaged goods, BFSI, telecom, and travel and hospitality emerging as major beneficiaries. The event also had a positive impact on the alcobev industry, with a 4-6% rise in overall beer/whiskey volumes, as bars and pubs saw better occupancy rates during matches, say analysts.

It is expected to have boosted consumption in the food delivery segment, too. “Zomato has set a target of 25-30% YoY growth in Gross Order Value (GOV) for its food delivery business in Q3FY24, aided by the festival season and the positive impact of CWC 2023,” Taurani added.

Add to that, the booming jersey sales on e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Myntra, Blinkit, Meesho, and others. Ahead of the India-Pakistan clash, fashion e-tailer Myntra recorded a 5X jump in demand for the ODI fan jersey, priced at Rs 999, with numbers growing as India progressed further.

Quick commerce platform Blinkit, meanwhile, saw record jersey sales on the semifinal and final days, with founder Albinder Dhindsa terming it a “good decision” to work with Adidas in the World Cup season. While the official kit maker is yet to share sales numbers, there's no doubt that it would've made a windfall from the jerseys, given the sea of blue witnessed in the stadiums.

India may have lost the coveted Cup, but these ancillary gains for the country cannot be overlooked.

Edited by Ranjan Crasta

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