The motto of Commonwealth Games Federation is Humanity, Equality, and Destiny. Who would have ever imagined that destiny will become the major driver of Games when India will host it! There is a lot that is being debated and written about the games. There is still suspense about the state of readiness, and about the infrastructure and about our ability to conduct them. The campaigns have started with the baton travelling across the world and the city trying to learn civic sense. There is a lot said about by various stakeholders, including a politician openly saying that he will be happy if the games are a failure.
Looks like Destiny will have a key role to play in the success of the games.
I am not joining the debate about success or failure of the games. Let’s for one moment assume that India will host the most spectacular games ever in the history of the Games. Let’s also assume that spectators in India and possibly around the world will remember these games for the spectacle it will provide.
Now if this really happens what can happen? Are there trends that the games can trigger?
The commonwealth games are the biggest branding exercise that India has undertaken to build its brand imagery. The games will trigger a new wave of interest in India. India will become the theme for many brand campaigns across the world. The interest in tourism in India will go up many folds and our share will see a sharp rise.
We would also remember the games for clever marketing by the brands. Years later we will be discussing how one brand upstaged the other, how we were forced to change our credit cards because the games had an official credit card, or how we decided to change the car we wanted to buy because the games had an official car.
“Official” would be a fashionable word in more ways than one. As usual there would be official brands, and as usual there would be ‘officials’. So would the word unofficial be as fashionable, as we would have the unofficial brands, and the unofficial (read players)
However these are not the trends that we will remember the games by. Possibly we will remember the games for some very interesting things, and they will be outside the ambit of brands and sponsorship deals. They would be the things that the spectators, players and possibly the coaches will spark off.
The first thing we will remember the games for is Twitter. The games will truly prove to be the tipping point for Twitter in India. If FiFA world cup is anything to go by, Commonwealth Games will truly revolutionize the micro blogging habit. The players will be Tweeting their opinions. The coaches will be Tweeting their reactions. And the spectators will be Tweeting their experience. People will follow their stars without boundaries any time, all the time. Twitter will go main stream in India and will rival every other social networking site. The impact of Twitter will last way beyond the games.
The second thing we will remember the games for is for user generated content. The real story of games will not lie with what is being telecast on TV, but in what the players, coaches and spectators are saying. The ‘insiders’ point of view will always carry more weight than the telecast version of the games. The viewers will be spoilt for choice as they would get to see very vantage point that is there to see or experience.
The third thing we will remember the games for is Mobile Phones. If the 1982 Asiad was about colour televisions than the 2010 Commonwealth games will be about mobile phones, apps on phones, streaming videos on phones, videos shot on phones and a virtual medial networks created by phones. I agree none of this about mobile phones is new, but the scale would be radically different. There would be a massification of the mobile apps.
The New Delhi Games motto of come out and play can have completely different meaning. Now if only the basic assumption holds true