When MS Dhoni hit the Cricket World Cup winning six on a balmy Saturday evening in 2011, there were about 811 million mobile connections in India, according to TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India).
By the time Mohit Sharma had taken Pakistan’s last wicket at the Adelaide Oval to complete India’s first win at the 2015 World Cup, that number had risen to 971 million.
It’s not just the number of connections but the entire viewing experience for the Cricket World Cup in India that has been completely transformed between the 2011 and 2015 tournaments. Viewers now have the option to watch the match live on a phone, laptop or an ultra high definition TV. And it doesn’t just stop there.
Last month, as India began its title defence against Pakistan which continued a winning run at the World Cup, you must have celebrated with family and friends, might have spoken or sent SMSes to exchange congratulatory messages. As you shared their joy, each one of you would have felt a part of the groundswell that is the emotion of being an Indian cricket fan.
Imagine being able to experience that feeling with millions of fans at the same time, in a different time zone or location. All you need to share is the common passion: cricket and your love for Team India.
With this understanding, Twitter has set out to bring a mobile-first, real-time information network where users follow, share and experience content that is live, public and conversational through the #cricket experience. Twitter partnered with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to launch brand new Cricket World Cup experiences for fans that flow seamlessly across the events on air, on ground and online.
To start with, all 14 teams playing the Cricket World Cup and players from each of these teams were brought on board the platform.
This set of diverse and comprehensive voices around the Cricket World Cup then provided the foundation for our special ICC Cricket World Cup timeline within the Twitter experience on Android, iOS, Web and Mobile Web. This was designed as a one-stop shop for commentary, expert and fan Tweets. Twitter users can instantly share their thoughts with the official tournament and match hashtags from right within this timeline.
Rub shoulders with the greats
You will find everyone from the dashing South African AB DeVilliers to spin wizard Shane Warne to Indian World Cup heroes such as Yuvraj Singh to the voice of Indian cricket Harsha Bhogle and English legend Geoffrey Boycott.
Imagine watching a World Cup game with these minds and voices for company. You can discuss or hear what people are saying about that Virat Kohli cover drive or about that missed chance at square leg. If you want more statistics on that last spell from R Ashwin, there is someone giving you those numbers on the timeline.
To ensure fans do not miss out on any Cricket World Cup story, ICC is also tweeting a recap of the day at ICC with #CWCDaily that is being broadcast via Twitter Video. And in case you do not have data on your phone, you can still stay updated by giving a missed call to the ICC or the BCCI to follow their Twitter accounts to start receiving updates from them via SMS at no cost to you.
And since Twitter is all about keeping it conversational, the ICC worked with us to give viewers across the world a chance to ask questions to winning captains in the post-match presentation. Imagine a question being asked to MS Dhoni after he has just won a game for India. All you would have done is tweeted your question to @ICC using the hashtags #AskCaptain & #CWC15. There’s every chance yours might be the question that gets picked from across the world. The lucky ones so far sure aren’t complaining!
To add to the fun, Twitter has also let cricket fans add more colour to their Tweets with hashflags. When they use a hashtag in front of the relevant three-letter country code, that country’s flag appears after the text.
All of this has led to unprecedented public conversation, with the total Tweets for the India-Pakistan match alone nearly equalling the total Tweets for the entire ICC World T20 tournament in 2014. This just reaffirms Twitter’s position as the definitive mobile microphone for cricket fans watching #CWC15.
Even Cricket Japan got into the act on Twitter, challenging England to a game in jest after the latter got knocked out in the Group Stages of the event. This exponential growth in conversation has in turn provided the perfect opportunity for brands to own the moment and we have seen some innovative marketing by advertisers that will be remembered well beyond this event.
From the Star Sports Mauka Mauka ads tweeted using Twitter’s native video player within minutes of a match being completed, to Cadbury 5 Star’s smart use of the Twitter audio player for fun cricket commentary by their campaign protagonists, there has been plenty to cherish. All in all, it truly has been a #TwitterWorldCup. Hopefully, we’ll be celebrating another Indian World Cup triumph together on the global viewing party that is Twitter!