In India, the mad fever, the state battles start from today – Indian Premier League T20 cricket championship kicks off from tonight. The sixth edition definitely will spark some cricketing action on grounds but the sparks on social media have already begun. With the #IPLOpeningCeremony still trending while I am writing this story, clearly indicates that Twitter would be the most preferred choice of network for interaction and spreading out the buzz.
According to a story published by IPLT20.COM, the sixth season of Pepsi IPL 2013 would see a greater level of integration with Twitter, to provide interactive experiences to fans.
IPL integration on Twitter
The most talked about feature that Twitter would be introducing for the first time during the IPL would be the Twitter Magic Mirror. The app would be used through the entire sports tournament season for the IPL and will encourage cricketers and celebrities to tweet out candid pictures with one click through the official IPL account. A feature that was tested by Twitter earlier this year during the Oscars. Twitter encouraged celebrities to share images of themselves backstage and with the Magic Mirror, it sent them out via the official Twitter account. And as I am writing this article MS Dhoni has become the first cricketer to use the Twitter Mirror.
In addition to this, Twitter has created a new Discover Page for the IPL. The page that curates tweets from a list created by Twitter India has displayed Twitter profiles grouped under several categories. For example at one place you can find the people from IPL leadership, IPL Team Owners, IPL Partners, IPL Teams and their player’s Twitter accounts to be followed. The Discover Page has made life easy for cricket and IPL lovers on Twitter. The below screen grab gives an ample hint.
Twitter integration on IPL website
The IPL website that welcomes you with a countdown on its homepage has also integrated Twitter quite interestingly. The website has embedded three unique ways of monitoring Twitter conversations – 1)Join the #PepsiIPL conversation, 2) Today’s Social Buzz and 3) Latest Tweets.
‘Join the #PepsiIPL conversation’ asks fans to show their support on Twitter for their favorite teams. This is also referred as the Loyalty Corner. Along with this, there is an embedded tweet box through which you can tell the world why are you excited about the IPL.
‘Today’s Social Buzz’ is an index that is keeping a track of the conversations of all the IPL teams on Twitter and they are being ranked depending on the numbers. For example while writing this post #KKR was leading the chart. The hashtags displayed here are hyperlinks and on click they take you to Twitter to catch all the excitement.
‘Latest Tweets’ is a curated list of the IPL conversation tweeted by the IPL teams, cricketers, commentators, etc. Additionally, the site is also going to showcase the Team Hashtag Battle. As the teams fight together on the grounds, the live ‘Match Center’ will be displaying respective hashtags and their battle between fans on Twitter.
Talking on this integration with Twitter, Rajeev Shukla, Chairman IPL expressed that the relationship with Twitter will bring fans closer to the IPL 2013 and the cricketers participating in it, in a thoroughly engrossing, interesting and enjoyable manner.
Twitter integration with TV during IPL
The relationship of Twitter and TV continues in the IPL too. The website integration features of Twitter such as Tweet Counter and Hashtag Battle will be integrated into the television screens too. The best conversations from Twitter such as the best tweets, pictures and Vines would also be shared on the television screens by commentators and I am hoping that Twitter would also be used as a secondary device, just as it was used during the MIB3 world premiere and the recently concluded Nach Baliye finale.
Twitter’s growing integration with sporting events
Twitter partnering with sporting events is not new; we had seen this previously happening during the London Olympics 2012 and later bringing live commentary of the Barclays English Premier in English, Spanish and Chinese languages. The Super Bowl XLVII also indicated the growing domination of Twitter when it was mentioned in 50% of Super Bowl commercials and Facebook just 8%.
Integration with the sport of Cricket had evolved last year during the ICC T20 world championship. Twitter had created a dedicated page for the official World T20 hashtag, #wt20 which had given fans on Twitter a cool way to be updated on the happenings on and off the field. Quite similar to the one which we had for the London Olympics and the NASCAR with the pictures from tweets appearing on the header and tweets being streamed live below.
However, the integration with IPL has created a new benchmark but wonder why Facebook has alienated itself from the party. It could have integrated with IPL just like it did during the London Olympics considering India to be the third largest nation on the network. Nevertheless, catch all the action on Twitter and if you are someone like me who celebrates no TV Day 365 days of the year then catch the live streaming on YouTube.
Let the madness begin and may the best team win!
Slider image courtesy: www.iplt20.com