The International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced the World Test Championship (WTC) in 2019 to give Test format some context and keep the format alive and it seems the move has paid rich dividends.
At the end of the two-year cycle, India and New Zealand played the first ever final of the WTC 2021 in Southampton. New Zealand won the final by eight wickets to be crowned as the inaugural Test champions after a tough fight.
ICC has said that the encounter was the most-watched Test match across all the WTC series. Television viewership of the final reached 177 million people totally. The match was aired in 89 countries and was viewed live by 130.6 million people.
India contributed most of the audience with Star Sports and national broadcaster Doordarshan. The country contributed to a massive 94.6 percent of the global audience. The match was also viewed in local languages like Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada on Star Sports.
"The viewership data for broadcast and digital coverage of the ICC World Test Championship Final presents a really heartening picture, showing strong consumption across territories and languages as well as format.
The ICC always strives to give the best possible viewership experience and will continue to invest in resources that enhance the viewing pleasure and engagement of our fans," ICC Chief Commercial Officer Anurag Dahiya said in an ICC release.
The viewership in New Zealand was massive considering the small population and inconvenient timings. A lot of people stayed up all night and a few viewed the match very early in the morning to see their team win an ICC trophy. The nation garnered 200,000 views.
Sky Sports recorded the highest viewership from 2019-21 in a Test match not involving England. The reserve day was the most watched day in a non-England Test match since 2015.
ICC's new OTT platform ICC.tv got additional views 665,100 live views from over 145 territories outside of the key broadcast markets, contributing to 14 million viewing minutes.
The digital platforms of ICC contributed to 500 million views across all video content watched during the match window. Facebook was the key consumption platform across ICC digital platforms with 423 million views and 368 million minutes consumed on the ICC Page.
ICC's Facebook page saw the most ever views recorded on a single day with 65.7 million individual views across the 24-hour period on the reserve day. The final of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 previously held the record with 64.3 million views.
Instagram further contributed 70 million individual views across the final. People viewed the final on the ICC website and mobile app, Twitter, and YouTube channel which took the total video views to 515 million.
(Inputs: Press Trust of India)