Covid-19 may have bowled a second lethal bouncer, with cases rising alarmingly just before the start of IPL-14, yet defending champions, Mumbai Indians, is all padded up to take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opener on Friday, putting out outrageously funny tweets and videos boosting fan engagement like never before.
Even before a ball has been bowled, RCB staged a coup, getting Usain Bolt to wear its jersey and banter with the team, courtesy their sponsor Puma. “Challengers, just letting you know I am the fastest cat around,” tweeted the speediest man in the world, triggering dozens of memes from delighted fans, and a witty response from De Villiers.
From parody press conferences, roping in comedians, creating a meme fest to short video bursts, this year the teams operating from their bio-bubbles have been scoring sixes in the content game.
Take Mumbai Indians, which has launched a Hindi version of its website, as well as MI Buddy, an interactive AI-powered WhatsApp bot that delivers team-related information on demand for fans on their mobile devices. And so what if TikTok is no longer there, MI is prolifically sharing behind-the-scenes videos on the trending made-in-India app MXTakaTak, which is an official partner.
Not to be left behind, Delhi Capitals is spewing out eye-catching videos on the DC TV platform on its website, even as it plays to the gallery on Twitter with tweets like “TC = Tom Curran, TC = Tropical Cyclone, hence proved he comes with a warning sign!”.
Delhi Capitals is building on last year’s digital gains when it got a record 450 million views for its video content. In 2020, the franchise also witnessed a follower growth of 32 per cent on Facebook and Instagram, the highest among all teams.
The content battle is already turning out to be very exciting. Now, let the real game begin!