Widespread Television coverage- a shot in the arm for taking women's cricket forward

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Widespread Television coverage- a shot in the arm for taking women's cricket forward

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SportsCafe Desk

07/17/2017

The ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 has shown how far women's cricket has come and can go - it was telecast in 139 countries, and streamed online in 200 territories around the world. In a pleasant surprise, the India-Pakistan women’s match attracted as many viewers as the India-Windies men’s fourth ODI.

The ICC and its host producer Star Sports’ decision to provide widespread coverage for the entire World Cup – on both television and online stream - generated quite a buzz among the players and fans. A tournament that would have otherwise gone unnoticed, performances that would have been referred to in numbers on the scorecard, and faces that would have remained unknown, have now found visibility. 

As per a recent report of the Broadcast Audience Research Council of India, the league game between India and Pakistan women got 2843 impressions in India (Only TV platform and not Hotstar), which is just 207 lesser than what the India-West Indies fourth ODI match in Antigua got (Ten 3 and Sony Six combined). Although the time zone issues for the India-West Indies match and the high-pressure nature of an India-Pakistan match of any kind can be used as a counter argument, the raw numbers are still inspiring enough for the women’s cricket and a reaffirmation for the discipline that has lacked the attention it deserves so far.

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The broadcasters have also played a big role in taking the top event in women’s cricket to every nook and cranny of the world. In India, all India matches - other than the match against South Africa – were televised, and the semi-finals and the final will be shown live on Star Sports, whilst Star’s online wing – Hotstar has been providing live access to all 31 matches of the tournament. The coverage for this world cup has also seen the usage of Spidercam and drone for some 11 selected matches. 30 additional cameras, including 8 Hawk-Eye ultra-motion cameras will also be used for the final on July 23.

In the United Kingdom, Sky Sports has already shown 11 matches, including all England matches on Sky Sports 1 or 2 and Sky Sports Mix and will also telecast the two semi-finals and the final of the mega event. Sky’s digital platforms are covering every match of the tournament.

In Australia, the matches are being televised on Fox Sports and Channel Nine, in New Zealand by Sky TV, in the Middle East and North Africa by OSN, in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa by Supersport, in South East Asia and China by Fox Network, in the sub-continent (excluding Pakistan) on Star Sports, in Pakistan on PTV and TEN Sports, in Sri Lanka on Channel Eye and in the USA on Willow TV. 

Before the start of the World Cup, Aarti Singh Dabas, ICC’s head of Media Rights, Broadcast and Digital, had said, “This is the first time in the history of the women’s game we will be producing live coverage of all ICC Women’s World Cup fixtures. The ICC is committed to the growth of women’s cricket and the extensive coverage for viewers over the tournament is a testament to that.”

And as it panned out, this has become a huge turning point and also augured well for the ICC’s overall strategic objective to grow women’s cricket. What has been impressive is the way broadcasters around the world have been promoting the event through their channels not to forget the online streaming.

As a part of taking it to newer audiences, the ICC have also started fantasy league for the Women's World Cup which allows fans to create their own leagues and compete against each other. On Facebook, fans are continuing to enjoy Facebook Lives by players and commentators, providing insight into live matches and the behind the scenes look at the event. With all these never-seen-before facilities on offer, hopefully, women’s cricket can attain their due level sooner than later.

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