‘Legends League retains second spot of most watched cricket tournament after IPL’

The league’s co-founders, citing viewership data sourced from Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), said the tournament had an average TV rating of 0.34, representing an 80% growth in watch time per session and a 15% rise in TVR compared to its previous season.

BARC calculates reach as individuals who have watched an event or programme for at least one minute. Whereas TVR is calculated by not just people who watched it, but for amount of time a viewer has spent on the programme. This means, a 5% increase in TVR will denote either 5% of the entire audience saw 100% of the programme, or 100% of the audience saw 5% of the programme.

Comparatively, Big Bash League, which was held in a similar timeline, had a third of the TVR at 0.11 and so did SA20 on Sports18. ILT20, which is held in the Middle East, had a higher TVR of 0.23.

In terms of sponsorship revenue, the LLC delivered a value of $176.2 million or 1,450 crore, a significant 50% increase from its first season played in September 2022, Raman Raheja, its CEO and co-owner told Mint.

Of this, TV sponsorship contributed the most, of $117.3 million. Another $54.1 million came from OTT platforms and social media sponsorships. The remainder came from print and earned media value, he added.

LLC has attracted funding of $7 million since its inception in 2022.

“Legends of the game playing competitively again is a treat for Indian fans. That is why they come looking for this league on television. Exciting matches and recreation of old rivalries keep fans hooked, thereby increasing the watch time. We have become a natural second innings for these players who have retired from active cricket, but they are able to play competitive cricket. This is why we get much higher viewership,” said Raheja.

According to Raheja, sponsoring cricket has become quite expensive for brands, and companies are looking at returns on investment (RoI) based on how many people watch cricket and for how long.

To justify their spending, brands need a better RoI from cricket compared to other advertising options, and that could be one of the reasons why it has received a strong sponsorship value. “Compared to all other T20 leagues in the world being consumed in India, we stand out in TVRs, reach and time spent, and this is primarily because of Indian players playing competitive cricket,” he said.

Raheja is referring to other leagues such as SA20, ILT20 and Major League Cricket in which Indian companies have invested in owning teams. But since the BCCI does not allow active Indian team cricketers to participate in any other private league other than the IPL, that could be a reason behind the success of this league versus the others.

The LLC has retired cricketers who have returned to the field, with matches played in two distinct formats held at different times of the year.

The first format, LLC Masters, has an international focus and a regional format. The retired players in this format are divided into three teams: India Maharajas, Asia Lions, and World Giants. Last season, it was played in Qatar.

The second format operates on a franchise-based model. Held in India, this format features six privately owned teams: India Capitals, Gujarat Giants, Bhilwara Kings, Manipal Tigers, Urbanrisers Hyderabad, and Southern Super Stars.

Notably, the owners of the two newest teams, Urbanrisers Hyderabad and Southern Super Stars, added in October 2023, paid a sum of $15 million each to secure a nine-year franchise ownership deal.

In the season gone by, a total of 19 matches were played across five cities in India: Ranchi, Dehradun, Jammu, Vizag and Surat. In the finals, Manipal Tigers defeated Urbanrisers Hyderabad.


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Published: 26 Mar 2024, 07:30 PM IST

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