A look at IPL 9 on social media: Hits and misses

Aishwaria Sonavane
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Oozing out all the besotted cricket essence, the social-verse has excelled the art of whipping up charismatic conversations around it. Extending the T20 World Cup fanaticism the annual ritual of the IPL (India Premier League) has yet again conquered the social media sweeping beyond stadiums and snuggling a sweet spot.

Gripping on to themes and forming a unanimous thread enclosed under the social media roof has evolved to become a trend. The Indian Premier League is the current fancy fiesta of the social town, with brands, Bollywood and fans can’t quit gushing or tweeting about.

Royally challenging the social-verse

Crowing Captain Kohli and building him as the cover of their social media book, Royal Challengers Bangalore managed to churn out ingeniously, painting the (social) town red, quite literally harmonizing with their brand color.

Starring Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, and Ab De Villiers as the prime faces of their team, Facebook cover flashes an animated version of the leading seven up on their page, for the world to know who rule the team. Gripping on the trend, alongside the game the challengers got their GIFs geared up sometimes giving glimpses of the game, sometimes for the brands.

Boldly lifting up the spirits of the red army and their supporters, the brand produced personalized, passionate anthem #PlayBold for the team which went on to become the master hashtag for the brand.

Our love for cricket is no secret, but if there’s anything we secretly love a bit more than cricket is what happens after and before. Running separately on #InsideRCB, the page generously puts on a plate for us to see a little bit more of the team right from the jersey boys to the men who made them, through bytes, videos, and creatives.

Twitter played as the text commentators for the spectators who missed the match by giving constant updates of every game and every ball nicely constructed within 140 characters. The team did not merely put up same content on both the social media platforms in fact leveraged both of them according to their characteristics.

‘Dear Dairy’ moment of the Royal Challengers can be transparently witnessed through their microsite which squeezes the entire world of RCB meticulously surfacing the traits of the team through blogs posts, photos, merchandise, tickets, and a lot more.

Team red screams out for you to go green. If you thought RCB utilizes social media to beautify itself or the brands, you’re highly mistaken because the brand responsibly undertook social causes urging the fans to pick up a bicycle, plant a tree or simply save water through #RCBGoGreen covering all the aspects.

Assuming the Indian Premier League to be a movie, the Royal Challengers Bangalore have undoubtedly found their protagonist in Virat Kohli, most probably for his massive fan following and his splendid form on the stadiums this cricket season.

Punjabi Kings reigning social media

Trying awfully hard to not stereotype, but talking about the Kings XI Punjab, the team likes to do everything like Punjabis, a little loud as they say #LivePunjabiPlayPunjabi.

Summarizing the game, putting up score sheet illustrations or moments from the match has all become a norm and the team decides to step up by creating an entire short documentary portal to put selected players under spot light, enunciating their game.

Putting the post-match ceremony to shame, the team put up a fine, detailed film with refined camera angles and buoyant background score documenting David Miller outlining the match. The Hattrick Hero Akshar Patel also earned his share of fame when the team devoted a video putting him on every single frame.

The team might be nine years old, but every year a new lot of fresh cricketers are brought on the field giving them their desired break; the team leaned on to social media to introduce the freshly absorbed cricketers of the team by creating a documentary revolving around their presence in the team and the experience of IPL.

Embracing the art of interaction, the Kings utilized their page to keep up with their fans by maintaining high-end interactive contests like guessing games using #GuessTheSher, urging fans to bring in apps like Boomerang in play.

Through their twitter page they boosted interaction and had the most ‘aww’ moment when they tweeted in support of their fellow team Royal Challengers Bangalore who could not win the title but had to settle for being the second best and also congratulated the winners thus keeping their account active even after getting out of the tournament; in fact, kept their tweeting live for the finale.

The team had this guessing game #SpotTheBall which was run through their Twitter handle to build interactions through creatives similar to what was shared on the other platforms

Delhi boys taking over the social sphere

The team of Delhi boys through their social media page created a space to drive discussions around the Daredevils. The page molded an environment allowing communication from both ends - the players as well as the fans. Viewers could witness the madness of the fans cheering for the team which just added on to the IPL fever.

Hopping on the anthem bandwagon, there was one produced for the Delhi Daredevils too. The anthem clarified how the team is taking their fans along with their journey of IPL by including them in the film. Aesthetically pleasing, with superior editing the anthem with some peppy music was put up on their official handle.

If you thought IPL was all about cricket, Delhi Daredevil steps in to correct you with their official ‘DD TV’ which remains as the highlight of their handle swiping off the dust from the fact that the Delhi boys can only play cricket.

DD TV is the absolutely amusing behind the scene fiction sometimes non-fiction action of the players covering everything from cooking, FIFA Xbox, fitness, and swimming face-offs between the players. If that is not enough DD TV takes a special series of a day with JP Duminy.

Their social media page resonating with the fans envelopes an entire world of Delhi Daredevils giving fans an up, close and personal view of the Delhi boys off the field.

Similar to Punjab, the Delhi Daredevils even after getting out of the tournament showed their enthusiasm and passion towards it by tweeting the finale and cheering for both their teams.

The IPL Men in Blue

They call themselves #DilSeIndian and we call them the Mumbai Indians. These men in blue have sworn to paint the (digital) town blue by thoroughly sticking to cricket and maintaining the intense cricket fever on their page through stunning illustrations and GIFs.

Alike to the DD TV, Mumbai Indians have their own MM TV which generously gives glimpses of the players prepping up for the game. Their entire social media page is concentrated by blogs about the games and players giving a deeper insight of the game and the players, MM TV focuses on the cricket prospect of the game, covering the games of the players, their fitness videos, and some of the bus moments before and after the match.

Knights riding on the social media

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata army made sure they kept the entertainment quotient high by taking the route of ingenuity by producing a comic character as their digital Bengali ambassador #TutulDa, who gives timely updates on the game, cheers for the team and celebrates the victory. Giving the appearance of a stereotypical Bengali man, #TutulDa connects with the regional fans.

Merging the team with the marvel world, social media portrayed their captain Gautam Gambhir in the get-up of well-known global hero Captain America and Andre as The Falcon.

Alike the MM TV and DD TV, KKR had something called the Knight Club which gave game insights through the experts from the cricket world giving it more meat as compared to mere illustrations.

The cutest supporter of the team, AbRam Khan became the star of this season with his constant appearances at the matches with his actor dad also became the highlight of the team and of course the page did not miss this opportunity to put little Khan up on their page.

Taking inspiration from the Telegraph newspaper, behind smeared wallpapers the page celebrated the players through illustrating quotes for each one of them.

Running on #AmiKKR, the page prepared interesting GIFs to highlight the game and to add on to the zing, after animation and marvel the page sketched cartoon figures of the players. Especially on Twitter which was dominated by GIFs after the heavy tweets and was in sync with their Facebook page.

Super giants on social media

Keeping simplicity as their forte, Pune Rising Supergiants ran their entire social media page on beautifully created creatives.

Staying loyal to the blend of pink and purple their official color, they created creatives giving detailed inputs about the match.

The social media giant has constantly evolved itself with the 360 degree video feature being one of the recent additions to its updates and the Pune team became the only team to piggy back this feature and posted a practice video of the team.

Scrolling down through their Twitter page, we could notice that the team of Pune kept it absolutely text heavy with tweets coated with impressive adjectives but with the absence of illustrations, GIFs or videos of any kind but giving continuous updates about the matches, somewhere not utilizing Twitter to its utmost potential.

In comparison to the fellow teams, Pune Rising Supergiants had poor activation on social media without impressive key highlights. But on the ending note after ranking second last in the tournament, their page relived one of the most memorable overs in the IPL history when Mahindra Singh Dhoni scored 23 runs in 6 balls.

Roaring their way on social media

The lions of Gujarat sure did not run out of adjectives to illustrate their players through creatives, by putting their faces with somber expressions portraying a classy image giving an individual identity to the boys wearing the Gujarat Lion jersey.

The team decided to acknowledge this heavy fan participation and support by creating a video and compiling tweets.

Leveraging the Facebook LIVE feature the owner Keshav Bansal of the team was available to communicate with the fans.

Facebook and Twitter page of the team summarized the entire role of the team in this IPL right from the practice sessions to behind the scenes and of course the match highlights through creatives, all orange hued and was somewhat similar.

#GameMaariChe was the official hashtag for the team which surfaced the Gujarati roots of the team which ran through this season.

Collaboration with Intex was tight with the team as they released videos in a unique way by blending the team videos within their products like television and phones. Going a step ahead, the team introduced an official game for the team to get the fans more pumped up for this season.

‘Gujarat Ni Vaari Chhe, Game Maari Chhe’ was the title of the team's anthem consisting of catchy tunes and typical aesthetics of Gujarat.

The players sure look dapper on field, but their photoshoot was a clear evidence that they looked equally handsome off field too as the page gave us glimpses of the photoshoot where the men are decked up in authentic Gujarati outfits.

Like the others, Gujarat also allowed us to witness the players up, close and personal by taking an informal byte of them.

Rising in the social sphere

The orange army and the champions for the season pinned their celebration video on top after winning the cup for 2016.

The orange army began their grand celebration after entering the finals and shared the enthusiasm through a video on their page and even took up Twitter to share the photos posing with the trophy and tweeting their hearts out, putting all their excitement through it.


Mostly all the teams took up social media to share their behind the scene moments, but the SunRisers Hyderabad team shared this absolutely stunning video of the players calming the in the pool which had underwater shots and the players having a good time.

The official hotel of the team decided to surprise Shikhar Dhawan, Naman Ojha, Ashish Reddy, and Bipul Sharma with the most scrumptious meal cooked by none other than their beautiful better halves.

The ladies on the field who are always geared up to cheer for the teams are usually ignored, but this was the only team which decided to recognize these cheerleaders who have always backed the boys with their pom poms.

Hyperlapse, an underexplored editing feature which amplifies the aesthetics was used to showcase the entire journey of the team players from Vizag to Hyderabad.

Trend spotting 

Team anthems seemed to be one of the major content hooks across all key teams. The anthems were produced around a theme which reflected across the team's social channels.

IPL teams this year seemed to have differentiate between platforms very sharply - Facebook mainly had a magazine role giving fans and followers some inside dope while Twitter was used to create engagement.

Also, while most teams managed to go beyond the cut and dried CTAs and content hooks, creativity and novelty continued to be a subject of worry.

Overall, IPL on social media saw teams co-existing with each of them comfortable in their own niche.

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