When the Indian Premier League was postponed in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, fans thought they would miss their favourite cricketing stars in action for a long period. They also wondered if the league would happen at all due to the circumstances created due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But IPL returned and it returned with a bang. From September 19 till November, IPL enthralled the fans with non-stop action which involved cliffhanger matches, splendid bowling spells, and spectacular batting.
In a world that was dominated by negative news surrounding the deadly virus, IPL came as a relief. And it proved in the ratings also. The just-concluded 13th season of the IPL saw a record-breaking 28 percent increase in viewership compared to the last edition.
READ | ‘He said we aren’t like that’: R Ashwin talks about Virat Kohli and Ricky Ponting’s spat in IPL 2020
The pandemic and the bio-bubbles that players had to endure for weeks made organising this edition of the tournament a challenging feat.
IPL chairman Brijesh Patel said, “IPL has always endeavoured to provide a world-class sports event for its fans. He thanked title sponsor Dream11, which associated itself with the hugely popular league after the BCCI parted ways with its earlier partner, VIVO.
“With Dream11 coming on board as the title sponsor for IPL 2020, we are happy to see a digital sports brand like Dream11 increasing fan engagement through fantasy sport.”
“It’s equally heartening to see how Dream11 has integrated its users in all Dream11 IPL match activations. The match countdown, Dream11 Champion Fans wall and the virtual guest box have all been brought about to bring the fans to the forefront,” he added.
READ | ‘It’s been amazing watching him and his team’s turnaround,’ Brian Lara picks T20 superstar for his favourite IPL moment
The four large virtual fan walls included pre-recorded videos of cheerleaders on branded walls of sponsors.IPL teams like Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals launched digital initiatives to connect with fans.Mumbai Indians launched ‘MI Live’ and ‘Paltan Play’ and Rajasthan Royals ran a community-based programme called ‘Super Royals’.
Vikrant Mudaliar, chief marketing officer at Dream11, said, “IPL is the biggest sports event in India that witnesses extremely high fan fervour, and we are happy to see similar engagement on Dream11.””Fantasy sports has increasingly become integral to fan engagement with every IPL. Sports fans are at the centre of everything we do, and we have integrated our users in all Dream11 IPL match activations.”
(with PTI inputs)