IPL 4 started sometimes in March, CSK have won, Dhoni’s luck held and the carnival came to an end sometimes in May. Over 120 brands were involved in this year’s IPL, chasing a dwindling audience. For the first time stadiums had unsold seats in T20 matches. For the first time when the TV ratings started to slip, they kept on slipping. Something went seriously wrong with this years’ IPL.
True the quality of cricket was not up to scratch, true that the matches lacked fizzle, but the formula was the same. The same carnivals feel, the same cheer leading squads, the same loud IPL bugle, and yet the fizz went out.
This time though there was one additional factor that was missing in last three IPLs. This year there was Twitter, and the IPL was promoting twitter in a big way. The commentators were tweeting, the players were tweeting, and mercifully the viewers’ too were tweeting. Twitter possibly is the best way to know, what may have gone wrong. I pulled out the following as what was trending on Twitter through out the IPL 4
Trend 1: The biggest trend was on team branding and team fandom. The most obvious players moved out their respective teams and donned new colours were a big challenge for the viewers. People actively commented on the difficulty they faced in following their favourite players. Even the new captains were a big issue. The team owners too did not do much to increase their fan base. This year the engagement of the city with their teams was at a low. This is a prime reason why many seats were empty in stadium
Trend 2: Lalit Modi was certainly missed by the twitterati. There were questions on scheduling the matches, there were questions on ability to create and sustain hype, and certainly the pizzazz was missing from this years’ IPL. Schedule of This years’ IPL came under very harsh scrutiny by the twitterati. Lalit Modi was generally hailed as the true hero of IPL!
Trend 3: The second most comments were on the fairness of matches. This trend though is a little complex to analyze, as losing teams fans could always question the results. Yet there was a pattern to a large number of matches. The supposedly weaker team won from the supposedly larger team. The fact the RCB and CSK will make to finals and CSK will win was doing rounds on Twitter for a long time
Trend 4: The quality of cricket that was dished out was an issue. Though some of the new players had sporadic following, driven by how they played. Paul Valthaty, Rahul Sharma, Bharat Chipli, Badrinath were some players who gained sustainable fan following. And despite the rise of a few new stars, the quality of game was always criticized. If the league has to have a future, it needs to work hard on improving the quality of the game
Trend 5: If there was one player who dominated the Tweet world, that it was Chris Gayle. RCB post tells that he hit an astonishing 100 fours and sixes in the tournament. Since the time he came, his murderous assault on bowlers, and his miserly spell in bowling was always the toast of twitter world. Clearly the WI loss was IPL gain
Trend 6: Individual teams had very poor fan following, and that is a clear indicator of low engagement of teams with twitter population. Mumbai Indians has just 185 followers, Delhi has 4000, and the new comer Pune has 3000. KKR wins this hands down with over 44000 followers. CSK has 13000, and RCB 18000 followers. Looks like the average twitterati is not keen to connect with the official team pages
The Twitter analysis has clear pointers. If the brand has to thrive, it has to organize the event better, has to improve the quality of game, and above all be transparent.
The novelty is now over, and the thrill has been missing. IPL5 has survival issues at stake