ISL scores with digital media

The first edition of the Indian Super League has taken a leaf out of IPL and a lesson from Pro Kabaddi to keep the buzz alive on social media; with a bit of help from its star patrons and players

e4m by Abhinn Shreshtha
Updated: Oct 31, 2014 8:07 AM
ISL scores with digital media

It has been more than two weeks since the ambitious Indian Super League  (ISL) was inaugurated. TV ratings for the first week matches were off the charts; as much as 12 times that of FIFA World Cup 2014 opening day and double of the opening week reach for the FIFA World Cup 2014, claimed Star.

Indian Super League kicks off with a buzz in launch week

Viewership numbers shot through the roof not only on television, but also online on website recorded around 800,000 visits each for the first two days of the tournament which is 80 per cent of the average IPL viewership on and the highest for a non-cricket tournament, said Star in a media statement. The number of visitors to the site continued to grow as the League gained momentum and recorded 5 million visits over the opening week.

According to Simplify360, the official hashtag #LetsFootball saw 113,178 tweets, 1.06 billion impressions and 68,483 mentions on the launch day. The official Twitter account for the tournament has around 56 thousand followers currently, less than half of IPL’s 1.6 million followers and way behind England’s Premier League’s 6 million plus followers. On Facebook , Of course, these comparisons are moot since this is just the first edition of the tournament and Simplify360 found that is already being spoken about in 50 countries around the world. It has also already reached 1 million fans on Facebook. On YouTube, views are in access of 2 million with nearly 4,000 subscribers.

“The digital era has put forward a platform for every property to reach a wide audience with an advantage of instant feedback. Indian Super League has strategically focused its campaign via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, garnering just about 70,000 mentions of the ISL on social media (majority of them on Twitter) in the last 15 days,” said Zafar Rais, CEO of MindShift Interactive. However, despite the tremendous buzz, mentions of the #LetsFootball hashtag have dropped considerably since the launch day said Mindshift.

Something that has helped keep the buzz mill going is a couple of innovative properties that ISL has introduced. Match Day Wars keeps a track of the Twitter conversations struck up by fans of opposing teams on the day of their match. The results of which are then posted on the ISL website. Users can also tweet to the official ISL handle (@IndSuperLeague) and get the entire ISL schedule on their mobile phones.

The glam factor associated with ISL has also helped in keeping interest and conversations high. Franchise owners and celebriteis like Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, Sourav Ganguly, John Abraham, etc. have done their part by constantly tweeting and posting photos about the ISL and their respective teams.

The ProKabbadi League was a surprising hit in India but we saw that the buzz around individual teams was fairly low. This was mainly because most of the franchises were not active on social media. Like their counterparts in the IPL, the ISL teams seem to have realised the importance of using the social media to connect with their supporters.

According to Simplify360, the Delhi Dynamos lead the pack on both Facebook and Twitter with 351,847 fans and 21,756 followers respectively, but the others are not that far behind.

In terms of individual buzz across franchises, Simplify360 found that in the last 30 days (i.e since October 1) Chennaiyin FC has seen the most buzz with 36,000 mentions on social media, followed by North East United with 21, 000 mentions. This could be attributed to star power—Abhishek Bachchan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni own the former while the latter is owned by John Abraham. Their good performances in the first few games have also not hurt their social media clout.

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