By Disha Shetty
Fans will be engaged across all digital platforms throughout the ICC World T20 2012
The ICC World Twenty20 2012 can rightly claim that is the most connected cricket tournament on digital media so far, with a range of initiatives designed to bring the fans both in the stadia and watching at home closer to the event than ever before.Over the last couple of years, an increasing number of tournaments and sporting events, along with clubs and leagues, have made extensive use of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to provide the fans with insights about the game and the players involved. Experts, fans and players find a common platform to interact and discuss the nuances of sport.
Fans have reveled in the chance to get an insight direct from the players on what they are up to, follow jokes between teammates, and get behind the scenes pictures from inside a team’s training camps. In particular, players such as Yuvraj Singh, Graeme Swann and AB de Villiers have shown how to connect with their fan base through a variety of different tweeting styles.
Cricket clubs and national cricketing bodies have their own Twitter handles, Facebook pages and youtube channels, through which fans are provided the inside information that bridges the fan-player divide. There are regular match-day updates, ticket offers, merchandise sales and contests.
How often have you heard of interactive commentary? During the recently concluded India-New Zealand series, commentators asked viewers to use specific hashtags on Twitter and answered their queries even as the match was on. Last season, the Indian Premier League picked the best tweets from fans (who used #ipl during a game) and displayed them on the giant screens inside the stadium.
During the ICC World Twenty20, fans are being encouraged through the event broadcast, the big screen and even branding on the pitch to use #wt20 to share their views on the tournament.
Not only will they be able to ask questions to players using the hashtag, but through an innovative promotion they will also be able to win themselves some exciting competitions. During the tournament, by using #wt20 on Twitter, fans will be able to unlock various milestones that offer them the chance to win a range of fantastic prizes, ranging from match tickets and Emirates merchandise to Business Class flights to Dubai from any point on Emirates’ network of 126 destinations. There are also miles on offer from Skywards, the airline’s frequent-flyer programme. The prizes will be unlocked simultaneously on the Emirates and ICC Facebook pages.
By following @cricketicc or visiting the social-media section of www.iccworldtwenty20.com, fans will be alerted as to when the latest prize has been unlocked. Once the prize has been released, fans will then need to visit the official Emirates Facebook page - www.facebook.com/emirates - or the ICC Facebook page - www.facebook.com/crickteicc - to enter the prize draw.
Recognising the global popularity of cricket and allowing it to reach new fans in South Asia, Twitter has also launched a special event page in partnership with the ICC on its own platform – the first time this has happened for a major global cricket event – following the success of its event pages with #nascar and #olympics earlier this year. The #wt20 event page, which can be viewed at www.twitter.com/#wt20 contains the very best tweets from organisers, players, media and fans.
The ICC has also been working with Facebook on this and other special events, including the LG ICC Awards, where fans voted for the LG People’s Choice Awards via a Facebook application, and will be rolling out new Facebook integrations on the ICC Cricket 360 weekly magazine programme in the coming months.
The first ever official ICC Cricket App has also been released in partnership with Reliance Communications to coincide with the start of the ICC World Twenty20 2012. The App is available on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Nokia smartphones from the official App Stores and mobile operator App stores.
Among the features expected to be most popular are the video match highlights from both the men’s and women’s events, along with live audio commentary. There will also be free behind the scenes exclusive videos from the event produced by IMG Media in Singapore and footage from every post-match press conference.
In summary, there has never been more ways to follow the ICC World Twenty20, get closer to the players, and exchange your views with fellow cricket fans across the globe.