comScore has released data showing that the Internet audience for cricket experienced a surge during the ICC World Cup’s final stage, bringing millions of viewers to top cricket sites like ESPNCricinfo, Yahoo! Cricket and ESPNStar.com, matching similar trends measured by the IMRB, which has been reported on earlier by exchange4media.
The last few weeks of the World Cup were particularly heavily followed online, and the March 30 semi-final match featuring India vs. Pakistan drew the largest online audience for an individual day, with nearly 3 million visitors coming to Yahoo! Cricket alone.
ESPNCricinfo.com was the most visited site with 6.6 million visitors in the week ending March 20, up 8 per cent from five weeks ago. At the same time, CricBuzz grew by 36 per cent, while Yahoo! Cricket also grew by 33 per cent. ESPNStar.com grew by 75 per cent to see 4.3 million visitors.
While these are weekly numbers compared to the IMRB numbers, which gave daily figures, these numbers too show the steady buildup of viewers online, particularly during office hours as the earlier report revealed. While video on the Internet might not be reaching the audience levels of television, it is a good chance for advertisers to reach out to a targeted audience about whom they can gather much more data, and therefore contextualize their message, much more effectively.
An analysis of daily traffic coming from India during the knockout rounds shows the highest volume of visitors occurring on the days of highly-anticipated matches involving India. During the quarterfinal rounds, the March 24 Australia vs. India match drew 1.8 million visitors to ESPNCricInfo.com, 1.7 million visitors to Yahoo! Cricket, and 1.3 million visitors to ESPNStar.com.
The final match between India and Sri Lanka on April 2 also drew significant visitation for these sites, although the greatest volume of daily traffic occurred during the March 30 India vs. Pakistan semi-final match. With 1.8 million visitors, Yahoo! Cricket actually surpassed ESPNCricInfo.com’s audience of 1.7 million visitors that day. ESPNStar.com, CricTime.com, and CricBuzz.com also drew their highest daily visitor totals on this day.
As noted by comScore, “The surge in Internet traffic to cricket sites during the Cricket World Cup reflects not just how wildly popular the sport continues to be among participating countries, but also how digital technology supplements the traditionally TV-dominated coverage of this and other major sporting events. With the continued surge in Internet adoption in India, along with the proliferation of mobile devices, the Indian population has more options than ever to stay connected and current to the important events of the day.”
ICC CWC’11: 1 in 3 broadband users followed WC final online: IMRB