There’s hardly any time left for season five of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to kick off. And even as organisers are trying hard to create some buzz around the
tournament by roping in Bollywood stars for the opening ceremony, the participating teams too have swung into action behind the scenes. To ensure that there is no repeat of a lacklustre season with near-empty stadiums, which was a constant fixture in season four, this time around, the average cricket-fanatic is the focus of all the teams’ campaigns. By using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, nearly all the IPL franchises are looking to reduce the gap between the players and the fans, and promote their teams, at the same time.
Leading the pack is the Mumbai Indians (MI) Facebook page with their MI Paltan campaign. Easily the most popular team online, the page has a whopping 2,515,413 likes. The MI spokesperson says, “This time, we have decided to make experiences more personalised for our fans and followers.” So from asking for suggestions on who should be picked at the auctions last month, to getting Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh to create personalised videos for fans, the team page has become a lot more interactive. “We even get the players to answer the most common questions asked by the fans. These are then uploaded on YouTube. Once the season starts, we will also showcase exclusive videos of them training or celebrating post a victory.” Apart from this, the owners have also roped in the iconic character Mickey Mouse to be associated with the team.
Log on to play for your teams
While Mumbai Indians may be going all out in terms of fan-player interactions for the upcoming IPL season, other teams too are trying to ensure that they aren’t lagging behind.
Delhi Daredevils and Deccan Chargers are looking for a photographer, blogger and videographer to ‘join their amazing IPL5 journey.’
Royal Challengers Bangalore too is ‘adding the local flavour of four different cities (Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Jaipur) to RCB’. Their Facebook page says that they are on the lookout for a photographer and a blogger from each city to cover RCB’s games held there. Participants can compete in two categories: photography and blogging.
Delhi Daredevils will soon start recruiting volunteers to help them during home matches. The team also recently launched a Hindi website.
“I have applied to be their photographer. I would love to meet Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir,” says Jatin Sharma, a Delhi Daredevil fan.
On the other hand, Deccan Chargers has become the first IPL team to start what they call an ‘Open Fan Blog’, where every fan can register and write an article. The blog is also moderated and run by fans and is independent of the view and voice of the management.
That’s not all. After the first version of the Chennai Super Kings’ global fan video prior to the Champions League T20, CSK has launched an updated version for IPL 5 in February.
“We require the help of passionate fans located in exotic locations to help us out with the new version! We are looking for Chennai Super Kings fans (sic),” said the team on their Facebook page. People also participated in their mascot-naming contest that saw over 50,000 entries.
What the other teams are doing
Kolkata Knight Riders: Has introduced a video, New Dawn, New Knights. This will allow fans to cheer for the team. Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo! has also launched its virtual home. Fans can click on www.kkr.in to stay updated on all that’s happening.
Kings XI Punjab: Don’t seem to have done much on their Facebook page yet.
Rajasthan Royals: Those with a Google account can subscribe to their exclusive YouTube channel, which has a new skin, exclusive playlists and some videos that’ll follow soon. The team is also letting players and fans interact via videos. For example, the official Facebook page has Shaun Tait sharing his favourite sledge. And for those who missed last week’s updates, their exclusive fan newsletter is also on offer.
Pune warriors: Offers information on the newest members of the team and introduces fans to the ‘Cheer Queens.’
(*As updated by the teams while going to press)