A Very Social World T20

By Bekki Bushnell, Head of Business Development

The T20 (cricket) World Cup kicked off properly this week – and while England may have lost its opening match to Chris Gayle (with minimal support from the remainder of the West Indian team) – there is plenty more to enjoy about the tournament.

This is because the tournament is being hosted in India, a country where cricket is a religion. A case in point — it was here that T20 came into its own with the creation of the Indian Premier League (IPL), truly the best tournament that showcases the shortest format of the game. The IPL sees franchised teams, featuring some of the best international players, going hammer and tongs at one another for a few short weeks. The only downside is that the tournament does not fall at the right time of year for English cricketers to truly take advantage. That means the spectacle of T20 cricket in India is really a rather rare opportunity. The colours, the passion, the sheer noise are not to be missed.

The Huffington Post has charted what the various social networks have in store for users during the event – and it makes for interesting reading.

Facebook is launching Facebook Live, a behind-the-scenes experience showing post-match press conferences, player Q&As and more. The main driver behind this is the demand from users for live streaming videos to mobile devices. According to Asha Thacker, strategic partner development – sports, Facebook India, anyway!

Google has got on the World Cup party bus by making it easier for users to keep up to date with the matches. By searching for “cricket match”, “T20 score” or “cricket score” they will see a list of all matches with the current score at the top of the search bar. Clicking on that particular match will take the user to more in depth analysis including news articles, stats and player profiles.

Twitter, the bastion for live opinion, has launched trump cards — digital player cards featuring key stats. The user can get the trump card of their favourite players by tweeting @ICCLive with #WT20Heroes. It is all about making the experience “special” for fans on digital platforms, says ICC’s head of media rights, broadcast & digital, Aarti Singh Dabas.

Instagram does not have any specific features, but the #WT20 will collate all photos and videos from players and teams, allowing followers to enjoy Australian big-hitter David Warner’s pictures of sleeping team mates.

It will be interesting to see how these major social networks evolve in their treatment of major sporting events. With the European Championships and Olympics coming up this summer, there are sure to be more innovations around the corner.