#CWC2019: Strategy Review – Star Sports

Star Sports world cup marketing strategy

The review takes a walk through the Star Sports world cup marketing strategy – going through its qualitative & quantitative tactics

It has been a busy first half of the year in the marketing spectrum, no prizes for guessing why. Among some of the busiest brands has been Star Sports – IPL, followed very closely by ICC Cricket World Cup, and now Wimbledon & Pro Kabbadi League. The action reflects on the brand’s social media page and the Star Sports World Cup marketing strategy.

As a part of this World Cup series, Social Samosa in association with Unmetric takes a look at Star Sports social media strategy this World Cup.


With #CricketKaCrown being the central conversation theme, across mediums, Star Sports has been aggressive, with one of the core objectives being creating conversations. Phase 1 was about offline conversations driven through auto drivers, Phase 2 took these activations one step ahead & focused on generating enough content to keep cricket enthusiasts glued pre-match, during match, and post-match.  

On social media, the World Cup chatter went Live in mid May, with a minute long Cricket Ka Crown Video campaign, featuring Vicky, an Indian fan. Conceptualized by Ogilvy & Mather, #CricketKaCrown has been their most used hashtag across social media platforms.  


Data from May 01, 2019 and July 01, 2019, shows that Star Sports has over 9 million fans and managed to garner 67k new fans (0.72 % fan growth). With over 1000 posts during this time period, the average engagement stood at 3,205. Most engaging post was the #CricketKaCrown video campaign with engagement just below half a million. The brand has also garnered 2.7M interactions in this time frame.

Engagement on Facebook During May 01 – July 01, 2019

People Talking About on Facebook

According to the world cloud, #CricketKaCrown is the maximum used word, followed by #CWC19, #ICC, GameBanayegaName, and more. The most engaging time for Star Sports was 8 PM to 9 PM, and Sunday proved to be the most engaging day, while Friday was the least engaging.

#CricketKaCrown is the biggest Facebook so far with 693 posts, 1.5 million likes, 80.1k shares, and 38.5k comments. The average reach was recorded at 117.2 million with 194.4 million impressions.


On Twitter, Star Sports has over 4 Million followers and managed to garner over 75k (1.8% follower growth) new followers between May 01 to July 01, the time frame where the essentially spoke about cricket over anything else. The broadcaster went through over 3400 tweets out of which 60.9% were proactive tweets by Star Sports.

Average engagement for Star Sports’ Twitter account stood at 529, with over half a million likes, over 43k re-tweets, and 16k replies. Average reply time of Star Sports on Twitter is a little over 3 minutes with a response rate of 3.758%.

Most engaging tweet by Star Sports during this duration was the #FathersDay India v/s Pakistan match campaign, which also managed to garner quite a lot of flak. The tweet received over 34k engagement, 2k plus retweets, and over 1.3k plus replies.

Some of the prominent influencers interacting with Star Sports’ Twitter handle consistently are Harbhajan Turbanator, Rajdeep Sardesai, Harsha Bhogle, and more. The word cloud highlights #CricketKaCrown, CWC19, #ICC, GameBanayegaName as some of the most used hashtags.

In terms of timing, Sunday had the most number of Tweets while Monday had the most Engagement and 6 PM to 9 PM had the most number of Tweets, while the best Engagement was for 12 AM to 3 AM. June 16 (India Pakistan match day) was one of the best days in terms of mentions.

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On YouTube, Star Sports has a total of 3001829 subscribers out of which there are 430773 new subscribers. The #CricketKaCrown Hum Le Jayenge video is the second most watched video during this phase with over 10 Million views.


Instagram has proved to be the most consistently growing platform for Star Sports during the World Cup season. According to the data, Star Sports has over 1.2 million followers on Instagram out of which 3,12,900 are new, presenting a follower growth of 35.5%. This growth has been consistent over the last 3 months, with Star Spots Instagram followers standing at 8,82,051 on May 01.

Instagram Engagement

On Instagram too, #CricketKaCrown has been the most successful campaign, with estimated Reach & Impressions booth shooting over 50 Million. Further, posts by the brand are engaged best between 3 PM-4 PM and Sunday had the best engagement while Saturday had the least.

These numbers have achieved on the back of an elaborate social media & content strategy with tactics divided to appeal various pockets of this cricket-savvy audience. Further, Star Sports has specifically focused on a regional approach, going to the extent of replying every tweet during the pre-buzz phase in the native language of the user.

With Star Sports demanding bucks from advertisers, especially in light of the delays caused by rains, keeping consumers tuned in was one of the biggest challenges for the broadcaster. This was overcome with an agile social media push.

Regional Approach

Star’s regional approach took a concrete turn when the broadcaster bought IPL rights and aired the tournament in 8 languages, 6 of which were regional. According to reports, 22% viewership for IPL in that year came from the regional feeds.

With the same strategy reflecting in 2019 World Cup broadcasting, Star Sports’ social media feed too mirrors the same. Star Sports has made sure to make their entire spread of communication available across languages. For instance, #CricketKaCrown remains same for English & Hindi users, except for the tweet copy being in the Hindi Devanagari script; whereas it becomes #CricketKireeta for Kannada audience #CricketKireetam for Telugu audience, and #CricketNuCrown for Gujarati audiences.

Similarly, their TVCs & DVCs too are made available in regional languages, appealing to the very niche and this practice isn’t restricted to cricket but for all campaigns they create.

Use of regional as a tactic is ingrained in Star Sports’ communication strategy, with the brand reverting to regional oriented tweets & audiences in their dialect.

The Fan Phenomenon

While Star Sports’ content strategy is a highly visual one, their tone & personality comes across like that of an ardent India fan. The broadcaster relies heavily on quality images, memes, data points, and throwback posts.   

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Their copy across creatives are conversations and often directed towards creating a meme impact through the post.

Snackible Original Content  

As a part of its content strategy, Star Sports has created a number of Original recurring content properties on their social media handles. Created before every India match, Fanguide, a short video of tips and hints about the factors relevant to the match was created. Match Day Ritual is another recurring property wherein Vicky, the Indian fan from Star Sports’ first World Cup 2019 campaign is seen pulling pranks, or dealing with the nail-biting pre-match tension, or just goofing around with players.


Like MaukaMauka, Cricket Ka Crown’s Vicky has been consistent in Star Sport’s communication this year.

Also Read: #CWC2019: 5 Marketing tactics brands are betting big on this World Cup

Branded Content  

Celebrities have had a consistent presence on Star Sports’ social media handles as a part of their film promotion strategy on the channel’s subsequent pre and post match properties. While this doesn’t appear as the brand’s communication strategy, it has worked well for Star Sports. For instance, Salman Khan’s tweet of going Live on Star Sports for the promotion of Bharat was one of the most engaged tweets by the brand.


With a major focus on creating conversations and driving eyeballs for the Live matches, Star Sports social media strategy manages to act as the supporting medium, driving maximum attention to Star Sports channels and Hotstar.   

Matching up with the Mauka Mauka Currency

After the success of Mauka Mauka previous World Cup, Star Sports attempted a similar feat with #CricketKaCrown. Executed in similar fashion, the campaign starring Vicky went Live prior to the World Cup and the broadcaster released one video before every match. Further, Vicky became a constant mode of communication for Star Sports as the broadcaster pushed the character across social media and as a part of their original programming.

However, unlike Mauka Mauka, while #CricketKaCrown is an integral hashtag across World Cup communications, it didn’t enjoy the same popularity as Mauka Mauka which also witnessed UGC and many brands riding the campaign wave.

Further, Star Sports discontinued its video for every match ritual when #CricketKaCrown video before the India-Pakistan match received flak.

With a major focus on creating conversations and driving eyeballs for the Live matches, Star Sports social media strategy manages to act as the supporting medium, driving maximum attention to Star Sports channels and Hotstar.