The Pepsi Indian Premier League (#PepsiIPL) kicks off again soon amidst its usual fanfare of music, Bollywood celebrities and the biggest names in the world of cricket. This year however see’s the tournament ramp up its social presence, working in collaboration with Twitter and digital agency Pulse Innovations, to engage fans like never before.
Sports specialists Pulse Innovations first launched the IPL site last January, securing a three-year contract encompassing strategy, creative, build and operations. Creating a live match experience that included almost-live Hawk-Eye and video replays, live fan polling and twitter team battles proved a success with cricket fans worldwide. Coupled with social-into-broadcast integration, the IPL became one of the most innovative digital platforms within sport.
Building on last year, new innovations for 2013 include the ‘Twitter Mirror’ (something that was first seen at this years Oscars), Twitter Discover page, Hashtag Battles, a Twitter Counter, Top 10 Trends, Loyalty Corner, social sign-in and much more! It promises to be an immersive experience no matter how you connect with the competition. David Strachan, Creative Director at Pulse, explains more;
“This year our focus was very much on social and mobile. Working in partnership with Twitter we’ve introduced a number of new features that should really excite the fans, including the Twitter Magic Mirror, a first for sport giving fans a glimpse of what goes on within the teams during game time. This coupled with some great 2nd screen initiatives will put the IPL on another level to other sports in terms of fan engagement.”
Their other focus was mobile, and not just on the major platforms:
“We’ve introduced a ‘feature-phone’ site, a simplified version of the smartphone site. It felt strange developing what was effectively a WAP site, but given the huge audience in India who still use feature phones it was an obvious step. In terms of mobile, IPL is now available on iOS, Android, Windows 7/8, as a mobile site and now a feature phone site. Truly multi-platform.”
The IPL starts tomorrow (2.30pm GMT) with last year’s champions Kolkata Knight Riders hosting the Delhi Daredevils. Here is a round up of all the new features you’ll be able to play with over the 2 months.
Twitter Magic Mirror
A first in sport, the Twitter Magic Mirror will, in select celebratory settings, allow Cricketers and Celebrities to tweet out candid pictures with one click through the @IPL account. The Mirror will travel the country, and give fans an authentic, behind-the-scenes view of the IPL. Today saw it used for the fist time by Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni;
“Pepsi IPL 2013 Discover Page” will help users around the world to easily sign up for Twitter, view/join the #PepsiIPL conversation, and follow their favourite cricketers, teams, personalities, celebrities and more, with one click.
The Team Hashtag Battle
On the Live ‘Match Centre,’ there will be hashtags for both teams (eg. #KKR and #DD). As the teams fight it out in the middle, their fans will indulge in a battle of hashtags to ensure that their favourite team triumphs on the popularity front.
Live Tweet Counter
The ‘Match Centre’ has a counter that keeps rolling as people tweet anything related to the match, or the Pepsi IPL 2013.
Top 10 Trends
There is a section on the homepage that ranks the Pepsi IPL 2013 teams on the basis of how talked about they are on Twitter. It will help fans track the overall Twitter popularity of their favourite team.
The Loyalty corner
A box on the homepage where the fans can announce their allegiance to a team on Twitter. All they need to do is select which team they support and hit ‘TWEET’.
Pepsi IPL 2013 Conversation
Boxes on the official website’s homepage and live match centre, through which the fans can let the world know who they’re supporting, their predictions and match moments.
Pepsi IPL 2013 Tweets
There will be a section on the official website that will feature tweets from the Pepsi IPL 2013 franchises, cricketers, commentators and administrators. The section will act as a fan’s one-stop destination to know what the ‘who’s who’ of the Pepsi IPL 2013 are talking about.
Twitter features on the Pepsi IPL 2013 website, such as the Tweet Counter, Trending Topics and Team Hashtag Battle, will be flashed on the TV screen during the live telecast of the Pepsi IPL 2013 matches, with the support of a real-time data stream.
Fan/Celebrities Tweets, Pictures and Vines: Viewers will be invited and encouraged to tweet and vine on the Pepsi IPL 2013, and the best tweets of the day will be picked, to be read out by the commentators on air.
In summary, Rajeev Shukla (Chairman of the IPL), said.
“It has been our constant endeavour to make the fans feel that they are a vital part of the IPL, and not just passive spectators on the outside. Our relationship with Twitter, one of the world’s most popular and prominent social media platforms, will bring the fans closer to the Pepsi IPL 2013 and the cricketers participating in it, in a thoroughly engrossing, interesting and enjoyable manner,”
The Pepsi IPL 2013 starts on 3th April 2013 and runs until 26th May 2013.