India is still celebrating its Cricket World Cup victory against Pakistan on Monday and their media is full of stories of players “believing” in themselves, and of photos of Bollywood babes in dark shades cheering on the national team. But while no “true” American has any idea what Cricket is, other than the fact it looks a helluva lot like Tee ball, the Cricket World Cup television ratings broke records. Granted, India is a nation of 1.2 billion people, with more than 25% of them living on less than $2 a day. That probably means they have to go over a friends house or the local bar and watch cricket games on other people’s TV sets. Still, it’s a lot of people.
Nevertheless…a record breaking 67.6 million of those people watched the four hour long final on Saturday, April 2. It was India’s M.A.S.H. moment.
By comparison, just 15.5 million people watched game four of the 2010 World Series, which was the most watched of the five game series. One of the most watched MLB World Series games in the 2000’s was game 7 of the 2001 New York Yankes vs Arizona Diamondbacks series. Around 39 million people tuned in to watch an upstart Arizona team beat the Yankees.
Cricket is to American baseball what Rugby is to American football. And while Cricket title games command more viewers than our own unique version of the game, the NFL’s Superbowl Sunday is unrivaled. It’s watched by nearly 100 million each year. The 2011 Superbowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers brought in 111 million viewers, a record.