Social media has become an integral part of the rising popularity of the Pro Kabaddi League. Social Samosa takes a look at how Patna Pirates is concentrating on visual content to increase its reach.
With a feeling that Patna wasn’t adequately represented in the big sporting leagues, Patna Pirates was brought into existence a little over five years ago.
“In 2014, we decided to give this city a team that could call their own, which could compete with the best teams across the country in a sport they all knew so well,” says Pawan Rana, CEO, Patna Pirates.
Patna Pirates engages with their digital community by putting up posts that reflect the performances of the team and individual players. They are also attempting to develop and deliver the values of a brand to their fans, with the help of inspiring stories.
The marketing mix of Patna Pirates is centred around two key pillars — experience and engagement.
Pawan tells us how their promotional strategy is completely organic and at first, the efforts were concentrated in establishing the brand identity. Then, eventually, the strategy moved on to grow the fanbase and engage with them throughout the year.
Social Media Footprint
Facebook: 682,238 likes
Twitter: 592.1K followers
Instagram: 188K followers
Patna Pirates Social Media Strategy
There are two intrinsic parts to the Patna Pirates social media strategy. Pawan explains, “First, it’s our own identity and tone of voice that we have developed over the years. It helps us stand out from the crowd and delight our followers. Second, the engagement is driven with robust content planning that goes beyond the 3-month period when the ProKabaddi season is on.”
A major chunk of their overall social media strategy has a heavy focus on videos. “With digital content moving in the direction of videos over the past two years, in particular, we’ve tried to be ahead of the curve, creating videos, both animated or produced.”
Most posts related to kabaddi matches, especially live updates are posted with the hashtag, #PirateHamla. These are often accompanied by action stills from the match.
While with #PiratePanti, the team tries to drive engagement on their social media page by throwing questions at their fans, where they get to reply and engage with the team.
Apart from highlighting the individual players, the team often puts up visuals of their mascot, giving fans candid content to consume. These are also clubbed under the umbrella of #PiratePanti.
He further explains how this plays a major role from a brand standpoint, giving examples of Pirate Zindagi and Pirate People — their video properties — where they delve deeper into the personal stories and journeys of the players and feature people who have made a significant contribution towards society from within the local community.
Expanding on the kind of videos created by the team, Pawan tells us, “From short, bite-size videos featuring the players and team to longer stories show at a high production value, we have done it all. Animated, motion graphics and packages edited using the match footage too forms an important part of the mix.”
Business of sports
The business of sports in India has changed by leaps and bounds. A lot of the credit goes to the leagues that have come up in the last few years, helping sports athletes not only get their due credit and recognition but improve their financial situation as well. “Being run in a professional manner has also helped add job opportunities in the industry,” he opines.
Pawan feels it’s wrong to compare or predict whether kabaddi can reach the popularity that is associated with cricket.
The road ahead
Pawan tells us, “Cricket is many years ahead when it comes to how it’s marketed, the heroes it has created and the money that has been invested in it at grassroots levels,” adding that what we need to ask is whether kabaddi can make its own space in the mainstream and become a popular, self-sustaining sport in India that children can aspire to play professionally.
“In the long term, we will need to build the sport further outside of the 3-month league season as well, and create heroes that truly become household names all over the country,” he concludes.
To sum up
Patna Pirates have maintained green hues across their communication on social media. There are plenty of videos that feature their mascot, often in public settings.
#PirateHamla and #PiratePanti are two essential hashtags that they use to categorise the posts they put up on social media, with the former reflecting team spirit and the latter being a showreel of candid moments.
There is a strong focus on building a profile for the players and making them likeable to the audiences at large. Catering to 106K fans on the platform, the team has a really interesting TikTok profile too.