2020 has been the year of anticipation and apprehensions which have led all of us to new normal. A new normal which doesn’t feel normal even after 6 months being into it. The example of one such attempt is IPL 2020. The BCCI made sure that year doesn’t go by without the IPL tournament and due to the board’s relentless efforts, finally the 13th season of IPL started on September 19th. But has it been the same till now? The answer to this question would be ‘no’. The venue has been shifted from India to UAE. Matches are restricted to only 3 stadiums. Teams are living separately in their bio-secure bubbles to maintain the protocol and keep everyone safe. And the biggest factor and most important one is absence of crowd from the stadiums. This is a factor which acts as the fuel for the teams to do better and win the game. It doesn’t mean that the teams are not putting in best of their efforts but the noise of crowd makes it all the more better. Though teams and franchises have resorted to new mediums to keep in touch with their fans. New engaging methods have popped up on the field. Let’s have a look.
MUMBAI INDIANS ENGAGING THE FANS IN INNOVATIVE WAYS
Innovations started with the defending champions, Mumbai Indians. MI became the leading team in bringing something new to the table for the fans. They have aimed at getting closer to the fans and giving them a stadium like experience at the comfort of their homes. MI did not take much time in understanding that fans are missing the live experience of the stadium as much as they are. MI has come up with “MI Live”. Mumbai Indians welcome their fans in their live studio where the fans can watch their favourite team pre, mid and post matches. MI is producing 14-match day shows and the same shows are being aired on their YouTube channel, Facebook page and Twitter account as well.
MI has introduced ‘Paltan Play’ as well. It is a virtual experience game in which players can play on behalf of the team on the MI match days. Fans get the chance to analyse the game that is going on and predict the number of runs that they expect the playing teams to score and also the number of wickets that will fall, as per their prediction.
The most enjoyable of the innovative ways introduced by MI, has to be ‘Virtual Wankhede’. This a platform where the supporters can gather virtually through video conferencing and can cheer for their favourite team along with fellow supporters. It will satisfy their urge to be in the stadium to some extent and will also give a boost to the team.
MI did not want to rely on newspapers and digital news to keep their fans updated about the developments. Thus, they came up with ‘MI Buddy’. This is an interactive WhatsApp bot which will provide all the information related to the team on demand.
MI believes that their approach towards bringing the fans closer to their favourite team has been path-breaking. They take pride in the strategies that they have devised for fan engagement. An MI spokesperson said, “These initiatives aim to connect our fans virtually, bring them even closer to each other, win exciting prizes and bragging right while enjoying our match day programs.”
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS GOING ALL OUT FOR FANS
KKR has always been known for their quirky ways to get to the fans and this time is no different. They have come up with an impressive line to reach out to their fans. They have started a campaign to appreciate all their fans across the world and the title for campaign is enough to say it all. The title says, “Tu Fan Nahi Toofan Hai”. Captain of the team has summed up the feelings of each member in his words. Dines Karthik said that they understand that the fans must be missing the team and the team also had been missing the energy of the fans and feel of Eden Garden. The campaign is just a means to communicate to them how important the fans are.
KKR Fan Cam and KKR Fan Tank are also there in KKR kitty to engage with fans. KKR Fan Cam gives glimpses of the training and practice sessions to the fans while KKR Fan Tank gives fans to engage more closely with the players as selected fans get a chance to interact with players and coaches virtually.
KKR’ official website provides fans with exciting games too. KKR Super Over is a game where the fans can choose their favourite knights and can engage them with the Knights Legends, the players who were a part of KKR but have retired from the game. Then there is ‘Knight Club’, an ongoing loyalty program by KKR which, this year will give the fans chance to accumulate points. These points will be redeemable in the IPL 2021.
RCB AND DC JOIN THE FAN PLEASING CLUB
When something good comes up, everyone wants his share of the same. How could the other teams let go the chance of connecting with fans. Soon after Delhi Capitals came up with ‘DC Watch Parties’ where 25-50 fans will be shortlisted from 5000 submissions. Thee chosen ones will watch the matches together while they stay connected through technology. This live footage will go the team’s social media platforms. DC also has introduced ‘Virtual Banner Party’. This program will see 2500 people come together to create banners for the team.
RCB could not stay behind the trend and wrote on their official social media platforms while they launched their anthem for the fans, “The official RCB Anthem is here! And it’s dedicated to the best fans in the world Time to crank up the volume to the maximum, 12th Man Army.”