Cricket is akin to religion in India. Although other sports are gaining popularity, Cricket World Cups turn into an adrenaline-charged festival here. This year T20 World Cup is taking place in India and people can't be more thrilled. The Indian team is doing quite well -- they've won the Asia cup recently and lost only a single match of the 11 they've played.
There will be those lining up at the gates of the stadiums and those glued to their TV screens. But since the rise of social media, the web acts as a second screen for the third category, who do not have the luxury to dedicate an entire day to viewing. For them there are a myriad activities online that will more than compensate for the live experience.
Let's take a look at how different social networks are planning ahead for the world-cup.
The biggest social network in the world has big plans for the World cup. International Cricket Council will do announcements and upload videos on their official page. Apart from that Individual teams such India, Australia and West Indies have their own pages.
Facebook is also launching Facebook Live, a live streaming service to get a closer behind-the-scene experience. They are planning to show stadium experience, post-match press conferences, players Q & A and more with Facebook live. "You can also subscribe to the broadcasters to get updates when next time they go live. Facebook live is a big feature for users as live videos are getting into live streaming from mobile more." said, Asha Thacker, Strategic Partner Development – Sports, Facebook India.
The social network is also bringing profile picture frames so that users can show support to their favorite teams while the T20 world cup is going on. You can change your profile picture by going to the page of the team you like and click on 'Try it' on the app which shows you sample frame.
In addition to this, there will be special match pages showing scores, poll, and posts. Facebook will also prompt users to post about the match in their status updates. Tapping on the prompt will take them to the live page where there will be photos, videos and too. You can also download the messenger sticker pack dedicated to the cricket world cup.
A lot of players are active on the social media as well. Not surprisingly, the top four players on Facebook are Indian cricketers with Virat Kohli topping the list. Ellyse Perry of Australia is the most popular woman player. Facebook recently launched Stadium Experience feature in the US for Superbowl to enhance sports experience, but this feature won't be available to the viewers of the world cup.
Instagram has no special features up their sleeves for the event but there are a lot of quirky moments to cherish on the photo-based social network. You can follow the hashtag #WT20 as all the players and teams will upload the photos and videos with this hashtags. ICC will upload special player profiles of 60 players with #WT20SuperHeroes. A lot of behind the scene content is also available by teams and players such as Afghanistan fans cheering for their team in a match versus the Netherlands, Chris Gayle training in Dubai, Ravindra Jadega on his way to Kolkata after the team’s Asia Cup victory and more.
Google has been trying to bring sports experience to the users screen through search and Google Now cards. For this world cup, they have made it easier for the users to keep up to date with the matches. Users can search "Cricket match", "T20 score" or "Cricket score" and they will see a list of matches with the current score.
When they click on the particular match, they will be redirected to search experience where they will see a detailed scoreboard, news articles, stats and player profiles. You will get more details by clicking on the Player or Team's name such as Fixtures, News, Tables and so on. Google has also released an Ad on YouTube for the T20 World Cup showing this feature.
Twitter has been an essential social network to any event that has been live. They have tied up with major sport event organizers before including ICC for the key events' coverage. Twitter and ICC's official hashtag for the event is #WT20 that also comes with an official trophy hash flag.
The microblogging website has also launched trump cards. User can get the trump card of their favourite players by tweeting to @ICCLive with #WT20Heroes and they will get a digital card of the player with key stats inside. Recently Twitter had teamed up with ICC to show some of the tweet relevant to the match the winning captain will answer a question asked by the user with #AskCaptain. The tweet will be shown on the TV and the captain of men or women's team will give the answer live.
Aarti Singh Dabas, ICC Head of Media Rights, Broadcast & Digital, said, “We wanted to make this edition of the ICC World T20 extra special for our fans on digital platforms. With these custom experiences, we are delighted that our partnership with Twitter will ensure that they not only enjoy the cricket but can also partake in all the fun with the live, public conversation around the event.”
Twitter has also launched special emojis for every country in the form of hashflags apart from #WT20, #AskTheCaptain, and #WorldT20Heros. ICC will also use Twitter challenger app to broadcast man of the match video. The player will also leave an autograph and special message in the video. Fans can also decide Nissan viral video of the day by voting one of the videos ICC will tweet during the match.
Aneesh Madani, Head of Sports Partnerships, Twitter India, said, “Twitter brings you closer to your interests and this partnership is a landmark milestone for Twitter and sports. We are proud to work with the ICC for creating rich Twitter content experiences for cricket fans across the world that they can follow and participate in. We hope to use this opportunity to connect every cricket fan with their passion in a much deeper and more meaningful way.”
Apart from the major social networks, Twitter's tools Vine and Periscope will also be involved in the action. Commentators will periscope from the box to give users an up close feel of the match from the stadium. ICC will be using Vine to show special six-second snippets of the tournament that fans can enjoy.
Reliance Jio will also be providing free WiFi to the fans in six stadiums across India. These six stadiums are M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamshala, Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali, and Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi. Fans would have to sign up for WiFi in the stadium which will be valid for 24 hours.
In partnership with Sportz Interactive ICC has also launched a fantasy game for the cricket world cup. The game has a classic mode for the whole tournament and super 6 mode for the daily competition. You can also follow the event pages on cricket websites like ESPNCricinfo and CricBuzz. The qualifier stages are over and now we are into Super 10 when real competition starts. Tell us how you will be following the world cup of the shortest format in cricket.