Inside The IPL8 Video Strategy Of SunRisers Hyderabad

A look at how SunRisers Hyderabad has invested on videos - a Facebook web series called 'ask me anything' with cricket players, and Instagram practice session videos


Given a chance what would you like to ask your favorite cricketer? Tough question in a cricket crazy country but a high moment for a fan, other than meeting his icon face to face. SunRisers Hyderabad, the youngest IPL team thought of taking up this idea and provide an opportunity to fans to ask questions to their favourite cricketers.

A recent video uploaded by the brand on Facebook shows captain David Warner (#AskWarner video) replying to really interesting and regular fan questions. David takes them in a sporting manner while earning more than 33K plus views. By the end of the video he even picks up a winner who asked – What are the three things you can’t live without? David replies mobile, credit card and his family. The fan earned himself a team jersey of SunRisers Hyderabad.

Started in the month of April, the Facebook only video series had the Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn as the first SunRiser taking up the challenge – ask me anything. SunRisers along with their digital agency Flying Cursor planned a teaser video revealing the cricketer who is up for the challenge. Fans were asked to share questions so that cricketers can pick up the best one and give it a shot.

Fans didn’t disappoint with their quirky questions to Dale – what product does he use for his silky hair, did he ever dress up like a woman for a party, will he dare to chop off Shikhar Dhawan’s prized moustache. Dale was candid with his reply while having fun with his friend who was doing the Q&A. The video has fetched more than 124K views (#AskSteynGun video).

At a time when Facebook is convincing larger brands to publish videos on Facebook for better reach, SunRisers is already seeing positive results with this ask me anything web series. The Shikhar Dhawan series published earlier this month happens to be the most viral video in this series with 225K views (#AskShikhar video). Obviously fans asked him which shampoo he uses for his popular mustache.

SunRisers are not new to videos and have been investing on it for the last couple of years. Earlier it was about discovering the video space like all other teams but now it is about how fans can get exclusive, entertaining content and going forward it could turn into a revenue source too, informed Ananth Nagarajan, Head – Sports Division, SunRisers Hyderabad.

“We don’t want to be looked as a static content producing brand for our fans. We want to give the inside preview about our cricketers, what do they do post match, how do they spend their time, among other things. The idea is to build a portfolio of content and get the fans engaged for a longer period so that in the coming years I can get a share of the fan’s wallet for more value added content.”

SunRisers started with YouTube which now has 11K plus subscribers. Earlier the video strategy for YouTube circulated around cricketers’ message to fans and quick interactions with coaches and cricketers. The below YouTube video with 39K views shows players having a fun day away from the field.

Over the time the video content on YouTube has picked up but it is yet to be as interesting as the web series on Facebook. May be a well defined YouTube exclusive web show like the #RCBInsider show from Royal Challengers Bangalore could raise the bar for SunRisers. Else just focus on Facebook videos for its 3 million fans on the page.

Interestingly, SunRisers is the only team in the IPL which has invested in creating videos for its Instagram presence. The Instagram account with more than 11K followers has a set of videos that focus only on the players practice sessions.

The bonus for a SunRisers fan is that while you watch your favourite players sweating hard on the ground you can feel goosebumps with the team anthem playing in the back. “We wanted to spread the new SunRisers anthem and at the same time it worked really well as a background score for the Instagram videos,” informed Craig Fonseca, Creative Partner at Flying Cursor.

The below Instagram video shows bowlers getting match practice before a big game.

  Another video which has fetched 450+ likes shows how Shikhar practices those huge hits in the nets.

For SunRisers, Instagram was a deliberate choice since it is a great platform to share videos and images. Besides, these easily consumable video content were quite good for the mobile audience, informed Craig. “We, as an agency have always been hooked up with Instagram as it is a great place to share images and videos with like-minded people. Some of these Instagram videos were uploaded on Twitter’s Vine so that is readily consumable by the mobile audiences”.

The eighth season of IPL has ended early for SunRisers as they weren’t lucky enough to enter the finals. The two month T-20 cricketing action will be coming to an end soon. This also poses a big challenge for  IPL teams – How to keep the momentum going with fans for the next 10 months?

SunRisers do face the same problem but Ananth is already working on ideas and plans to integrate other mediums such as radio along with digital.

“During this IPL we had started our work from the ICC world cup. From next year we are going to build up the engagement on the non GEC channels which are generally focused on the youth. The idea is to build fan zones during the next 12 months so that they can all come up for the next IPL.”