The live online viewership figures recorded for the first half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year have risen 52% to 75.2 million, from 49.3 million in 2012, according to the twenty20 cricket tournament's digital partner Times Internet.
In addition, the time spent consuming highlights and clips online from the sixth IPL season has grown a whopping 480% compared to last season.
The engagement increase follows the decision by Times Internet to team up with online video platforms Google YouTube and BoxTV for IPL coverage in 2013, and add a more social experience for the Web viewer.
"Over the last two years, we've offered IPL fans across the world a superior experience online and steadily grown a loyal viewer base. For IPL 2013, we've worked hard to make the online experience more social and interactive than ever before, and our traffic numbers so far are proof enough that IPL fans are loving it," said Satyan Gajwani, CEO, Times Internet.
India, Bangalore and Hyderabad represent 14% of the country's IPL online audience, while Delhi follows with 10% of the Web followers. The most keenly watched of the streamed matches have been that of Royal Challengers Bangalore versus Pune Warriors India on 23 April, and Mumbai Indians versus Royal Challengers Bangalore on 25 April.
"Better streaming experience, increased mobile and tablet device access and growing awareness about the availability of IPL online is fuelling the growth in viewership," said Praveen Sharma, head of media sales, Google India.
"In the past, we usually saw a rise in the first two weeks of the tournament and then it picked up again during the final week. But this year, the growth has been consistent through the tournament. At this rate we are hopeful of registering strong growth in total viewership by the end of the tournament over last year."