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Viewers not impressed with lacklustre India vs Sri Lanka series

With the downfall of viewership, the Test series could only garner the 3rd and 5th position in the top five most watched sports channels rating list for the week. 

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The ongoing India-Sri Lanka series has been quite a no-brainer when it comes to figuring out which team will turn out to be victorious at the end of a match. With the Lankans barely putting up any resistance, a proper contest has not been an extremely abundant element in the bilateral series. Quite understandably, this insipid form of the game has failed to evoke much enthusiasm from the viewers and the same has been projected via the latest viewership data for sports channels in India.

According to the Broadcast Research Audience Council India (BARC)’s data for sports channels between August 12 and 18, no cricket has been able to find a spot in the top five most watched sports program list. TV channels, Sony Ten1 and Sony Six have been broadcasting the bilateral series, including the recently concluded 3rd Test match that was played for just 3 days, having begun on 12th of August. Clearly indicating the downfall of viewership, the Test series could only garner the 3rd and 5th position in the top five most watched sports channel rating list for the week.

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Who is taking up the top viewership slots?

As reported by India Today, the revamped version of the age-old game, Pro Kabaddi league (PKL) has become to the nerve centre of Indian sports audience. Each of the top five most watched sports programs in the week are, in fact, PKL matches played in prime time, with the weekend matches being the most watched. The figures corroborate with this viewership revolution as Star Sports’ newly launched free to air Star Sports first, which focuses on kabaddi became the most viewed sports channel with 206695 impressions (in thousands), while Sony Ten which aired the India vs Sri Lanka Test match finished third best with 79429 impressions (in thousands).

Why are Indian viewers unhappy with the series?

However, it’ll be a mistake to think that cricket as a sport might be bleeding fans. A prime example of good cricket being appreciated is the Women’s World Cup, which according to BARC figures, became the most watched sports program with 5922 impressions beating the inaugural pro kabbadi matches played during the same period.

Further, many seem to have developed a misconception that Test cricket makes the audience weary, thus attracting less eyeballs. Rest assured, it’s a myth! The long home Test season (2016-17) where India triumphed against top sides, Australia and England was well received by the viewers.

In fact, the Star Sports franchise which owns and airs Pro-Kabaddi League (PKL) have ensured kabaddi action does not clash with any exciting Test cricketing action because they’re confident of competitive matches of the longer format getting due attention. The lowered viewer ratings are probably the manifestation of the pent up frustration within the average Indian cricket enthusiast, begging for more life to be breathed in, into their beloved sport.

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