Preliminary data from a survey of 1,000 cricket fans suggest that the new Twenty20 format is changing fans’ viewing habits. In his latest article for Mint, Ram Tamara, economist and director of Nathan India, continues to explore his hypothesis that fans’ opportunity costs and style preferences will determine which format of cricket will prevail in the long run: one-day international (ODI), Test, or T20.
Data from a survey commissioned by Mint show that the main factor in choices about what games to attend or watch depend on whether the game—and the game’s length—clashes with work and school commitments. Many of those surveyed (31%) also say they’ve stopped watching the strategy-driven ODIs since the shorter and more intense T20s came on the sports entertainment scene just three years ago. And even more (87%) prefer ODI and T20 games over the grueling, multiday Test matches.
Tamara notes as well an intriguing aspect of fans’ behavior revealed by the survey data: local tradition matters. Fans in Chennai, one of India’s oldest cricket centers and home to cricket connoisseurs, seem to prefer Test matches even though the matches bear high opportunity costs for high-earning survey respondents. Meanwhile, the survey also suggests that the new T20 format may be creating a whole new fan base in cities not known for interest in cricket.