Bated breaths. Cheering crowds. The thrill of a sixer. The disbelief of a wicket. Nothing beats the madness cricket brings out in us, and no other franchise league has been able to capture the young spirit of sport the way the IPL has.
According to the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB), the IPL’s viewership has even surpassed that of the EPL (English Premier League for football) in the UK.
The Indian Premier League is a professional T-20 cricket tournament where 8 teams, representing different Indian cities and states, battle it out to become the champions. However, what makes it so globally appealing is how the best players from all the cricket-playing nations forget their rivalries and play together.
One can appreciate the top-form Mumbai Indians squad with star players like Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Trent Boult, and more, playing in unison for victory. And who isn’t a fan of the classic partnership and friendly banter between Indian skipper Virat Kohli and all-rounder AB de Villiers?
Seeing our favourite players collaborate and fraternise brings out a level of excitement which only helps heighten the frenzy.
Some feared that the year 2020 would have continued its party-pooper existence and ruined the IPL for us. However, not only did the league continue, but its popularity has soared—over the Internet.
And how was that possible? With cloud communications, of course.
Even without attending the matches physically and cheering the teams on, the crowd connection was never severed. Internet-based communications have allowed us to stay in touch with players, keep track of matches, and unite as audiences even from our living rooms.
Let’s look at a few ways this technology has helped beat the COVID-19-blues and kept our spirits up by connecting us to the IPL.
1. Live score updates with bulk SMS
Needless to say, the work-from-home transition has brought with it its share of lifestyle changes. With the creation of digital workspaces, work hours are increasingly flexible. You may start work at noon and finish late at night if that floats your boat.
You might find yourself inevitably busy with work when the matches are airing. Or you might even be shopping for groceries or finishing chores.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you can stay up-to-date with live scores. All that’s needed is a bulk SMS service to notify the subscribers of all the scores and updates in real-time.
These text blasts are broadcasted without lag to your inbox—and on any platform. Apart from live scores, you can also choose to receive match highlights and never be left out of the conversation. Think of the unbelievable twin super-overs between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab recently where the teams had to play two extra overs in a nail-bitingly close match.
Such bulk solutions also come in handy during unexpected situations. For example, if a match needs to be postponed or cut short because of heavy rains, a quick text will immediately inform the audiences of the same.
2. Live commentary and streaming
One can’t deny that cricket commentary is truly a highlight of the game in itself. The commentators are often witty and sassy while giving an accurate account of the events.
Just take this example from the IPL finals in 2014. When Wriddhiman Saha was continuously scoring by finding gaps between the fielders, commentator Harsha Bhogle quipped, “Let me tell you, there are fielders on the ground by the way.”
Besides this, avid fans also appreciate an expert analysis of the techniques used in the field. Not only is this informational, but it also confirms or corrects the analyses we form as amateurs who’ve grown up watching the sport.
These small things add up to an even more enjoyable viewing experience, which is why it’s important for live commentary to become more accessible. Cloud technology allows easier distribution of live content.
In fact, often, you find TV commentators calling on experts to give their views mid-match using a video call. This classic use of cloud communication allows retired sportsmen to share their experienced opinions—in HD and with zero lag.
Live streams are best accompanied with live chats. This way, people can share their opinions while catching the game live. Internet-based chats are quick and often come with emojis and stickers that help people better express their excitement.
3. Enhancing the audience connect with polls, surveys, etc.
All relationships are built on two-way communications. This holds true for the bond between fans and the game as well. So, why limit the connection to simply updating scores and sending promotional messages?
Polls and surveys help engage the fanbase and create a more meaningful relationship. Not only do people feel more involved in the game, but their opinions are useful for curating an evolved strategy for a successful league.
All such surveys can be easily conducted with cloud services like SMS and voice broadcasts via IVR menus.
Here’s how this works: people get a voice recording of the poll question, like “Which player has had the biggest impact in this matchweek?” and can select an answer from the accompanying menu of navigable key inputs. The responses are automatically and securely stored on the cloud and can be accessed in a jiffy.
4. A new wave of marketing with the Cloud
One of the primary reasons the IPL has managed to become as big as it is (and keeps growing) is because of excellent marketing. The creators took an already-popular sport, and made it crisper, more colourful, and in a sense, more commercialised.
Good marketing comes from creative minds, sure. But for the vision to be accurately realised, you need proper tools. The Indian Premier League has made use of powerful cloud communication tools that help engage fans better.
Take, for example, the digital fan walls in stadiums. With the use of virtual match tickets, a select number of audience members can join the stadium with their webcams. With high-quality video calls, courtesy of cloud solutions, fans from around the world can make appearances during the live telecast.
Taking this engagement a step further, some teams are also allowing fans to interact with the players in virtual meet and greets. Mumbai Indians has launched an app that connects avid fans with virtual screenings, live leaderboards, online games, and much more.
Rajasthan Royals held an event for select fans from around the world through social media. These individuals could appear on TV via video conferencing, interact with the players, and participate in match analysis.
Another way that people feel closer to the players is through the social media marketing campaigns that show behind-the-scenes camaraderie. Just some of the most famous players in the world messing around—how fun is that? Such live streams and videos are a great marketing trick.
SMS broadcasts are also used for promoting special events and communicating with vendors. From sponsors to viewers, everyone can be on the same page.
5. The RPG experience of Dream 11
The popularity of video games like Fortnite, WWE Smackdown or even Super Mario RPG shows how much we love roleplaying. Perhaps that’s why fans of the series Harry Potter go to the Wizarding World website (earlier to Pottermore) in search of a magical experience.
In the same vein, it isn’t enough to simply watch a game. Being a part of the experience is equally important. That’s what the Fantasy Football League offers to football fans, and that’s what Dream 11 signifies for cricket-lovers.
As a subsidiary of Dream 11, Fantasy IPL allows users to create their own teams. Their success depends on the real performance of their chosen players. All this while, there are prizes to look forward to.
However, what makes Fantasy IPL so much fun is that people can create teams with their friends and play together. For this, chat rooms are widely used and friends scattered around the world can get together and celebrate on the cloud.
In addition, a lot of online polls are conducted to determine public opinion and keep the debates going.
Why does the IPL tug at heartstrings? What has it done differently? The long and slow test matches are still as relevant, but the quick T-20 format allows fans to balance their passion for the sport with their fast-paced (and often chaotic) lives.
Add to this mix a pool of talented and diverse players and engaging marketing initiatives—and you get the highly attractive Indian Premier League.
The IPL’s unwavering popularity, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying physical restrictions, is because of its ability to cater to a remote audience. For this, we have cloud communications to thank.
This goes to show that the scope of this technology runs way beyond everyday communication—to the world of sports. And it’s only going to evolve further to curate the experience of sports fans worldwide.
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