Like billion other Indians, I’m a cricket fan and Cricket World Cup is an event that I wait for much like fans across the globe wait for FIFA. The Indian cricket team, no doubt, one of the best in the World, has been out of form for the past 3 months with humiliating losses to England and Australia. But as the World Cup kicked off, the team has come into its own and is looking in great form. Defeating a World Cup favorite South Africa was a #Bleedblue moment for me.
This spectacular event is watched by more than a billion people globally, according to the ICC Cricket World Cup site. The media buying experts have pegged the total ad spending in this World Cup to INR 1500 crore and that’s excluding stadium ads and merchandising sold by ICC. The digital medium too is being looked upon as a platform for advertisers. In 2011, there were 120 million Internet users in the country which is now at 213 million. Companies like Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Star Sports have worked up their social media strategy to catch the imagination of World Cup fans across the globe.
Facebook and Twitter have launched dedicated pages to give a platform to cricket fans to exchange their opinions, and learn interesting statistics about the teams slugging it out in Australia. Twitter has recently introduced multi-lingual hashtags also and as an entrepreneur in the local language technology space, it was a proud moment to see #JaiHind among the top 3 trending topics the day India beat Pakistan. The ICC official hashtag CWC15 has crossed more than a million mark as of Feb 20, 2015.
This World Cup is being played with equal enthusiasm on and off the field. ICC has taken a step forward to design a social media strategy in partnership with Twitter. The micro blogging site has launched a dedicated timeline for the duration of the tournament where fans can get an instant snapshot of the match with commentary, expert and fan Tweets all coming through to a central point. Many contests like #AskCaptain are also being run to increase user engagement levels. A special digital wrap-up of every single match day is also being tweeted by @ICC with #CWCDaily.
Star Sports also launched their big bang advertising campaign a month before the World Cup started and popularised #Wontgiveitback. The broadcaster is using social media platforms to launch new ads as Indian team continue to outperform (Read Mauka Mauka different versions) The channel has launched Hotstar a few months before the World Cup to build audience base and were in the news for signing up AIB to prepare a 5-15 min video capsule for Hotstar viewers in which the comedians will share their take and commentary of some of the big matches of the tournament.
The statistics and figures have made a compelling case that be it Lok Sabha Elections or a big ticket sports event like World Cup or IPL, social media will now feature as an important component of advertisers, broadcasters, social media companies marketing campaigns.