• Dubai, Aug 10 (IANS) The recently concluded ICC Women’s World Cup in which India finished runners-up after losing to England, was watched by an estimated 180 million people from across the world.

    A whopping 156 million people viewed the event in India, of which 80 million was rural reach and 126 million were for the final alone. India’s fine performances contributed to a 500 per cent increase in viewing hours in the country, according to an International Cricket Council (ICC) statement.

    There was an almost 300 per cent increase in viewing hours compared to the last edition in 2013.

    “There was significant growth in audiences in all territories, but particularly impressive was an eight-fold increase in viewing hours in South Africa and a huge increase in viewers in India, particularly in rural areas, since 2013,” the release stated.

    In the United Kingdom, the final attracted most viewers for any televised cricket this summer. Similarly, there has been a 131 per cent increase in viewing hours in Australia while it was a staggering 861 per cent in South Africa after its team reached the semi-finals for the first time.

    ICC chief executive David Richardson said: “We are absolutely delighted with the impact the Women’s World Cup has had. Instinctively, we felt that the time was right to invest in women’s cricket and take it to the widest possible audience to accelerate the growth of the game and these numbers have confirmed that.”

    “We congratulate all eight teams for providing the entertainment, the cricket was competitive and compelling and when you have that it makes it much easier to attract an audience. The sport must now work collectively to maintain interest and continue to drive growth,” he added.

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