With IPL 2 finally on its way to South Africa, the Indian fans will have to contend with watching the matches on TV and following it up on the Internet. MSM has retained the telecast rights for the tournament, which is expected to commence from April 17. With less than a month left, the IPL teams are intensifying their activities on the Internet via their websites to garner all the support they can.
Most of the IPL team websites have introduced not only newer features for their fans, but also tied up with social media groups to gain better visibility.
GMR-promoted Delhi Dare Devils has joined hands with Bigadda.com in a pure play marketing tie-up, where Bigadda will be their exclusive social networking partner. Bigadda will be creating games, contests, applications and a DDD community through which fans can connect with the team. In return, loyal and committed fans would get exclusive merchandise, meet and greet opportunities with the team, snippets, and behind the scenes news, among others. This will be a mutually symbiotic relationship, which is expected to create an exciting buzz around IPL and DDD as a team.
Mandar Natekar, Head of Revenue & Sales, Bigadda.com, noted, “The popularity of the IPL team sites does increase during the season, but there are limitations to that. Typically, they will still need the thrust of a popular networking site to drive traffic their way. As a social media site, we have a large registered user base and hence, we are in a much better position to create traction, excitement and buzz for their website through our communities, rather than they doing it as a standalone.”
Commenting on the online initiatives of Chennai Super Kings, Rakesh Singh, Head - Marketing, India Cements Ltd, said, “Traffic does increase as the season approaches. During the last season, our website received several million page views, many repeat visitors and over five pages per visit. Our website was also rated as one of the best and most informative websites last year. This year, too, we will have many more features on our website. It will be a one-stop shop for all information on the Chennai Super Kings.”
Talking of the new features, he added, “We have been receiving a lot of feedback from our visitors to the site. Given that, this year will see fresh content that includes blogs, including one from VB Chandrasekhar, of the team management, an online store with special merchandise, including T-shirts, personalised T-shirts, caps, wrist bands and many more goodies, a WAP site and mobile store for ring tones, themes, anthems, wallpapers, news alerts and unique team-centric content from a dedicated editorial staff.”
Utkarsh Singh, Head – Business Develoment, Rajasthan Royals, said, “The website is the best place to get content and info that is not normally available in the public domain. It is visited by the core loyalists of the team the most. Also, for a lot of people and fans who wish to follow the teams’ developments, the website is the best destination.”
The Rajasthan Royals website has also introduced some new features. Singh further said, “We were the first to put up our online store and the first to launch online memberships. We are also the first to have our own channel on YouTube (http://in.youtube.com/user/RajasthanRoyalsTV) and the first to have an official community page on Facebook. All these factors combined, with the fact that we are champions of the 1st season, will ensure a lot of traction and interest in our website. Finally, with Shilpa Shetty adding the glamour quotient and things like exclusive previews to our anthem video and behind-the-scene footage planned for this season, we are already witnessing an increase in traffic. We will monetise the website by selling merchandising. We are already selling membership. Also, we will work closely with our advertisers to make the website an essential ingredient in their marketing mix.”