Cricket gets social life, as ICC ties up with Facebook

Indianexpress

Indianexpress

Author 2019-09-27 10:53:42

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Soon, cricket- match recaps, in-play moments and feature content will be available on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. This follows the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) partnership with Facebook that makes the American social media giants the world body’s “exclusive digital content rights partner” for all ICC events in the subcontinent till 2023.

Post-match recaps will be carried throughout the rest of the world as well. India would be hosting two major ICC events during this period – the 2021 World T20 and the 2023 World Cup. The ICC described the deal as “ground-breaking”.

Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp two years later. Earlier this year, Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had revealed his plans to integrate the services by early 2020. According to a spokesperson from the Facebook’s PR team in India, cricket that will be available on Facebook, will come to WhatsApp and Instagram as well.

“What will come on Facebook will be cross-posted on WhatsApp and Instagram. If there’s a highlights package of three to five minutes on Facebook, which is shared on Instagram, it goes to IGTV (a standalone video application) straightaway. Because, on Instagram, videos have a limit of one minute. As far as WhatsApp is concerned, we will work out a method to bring the content on the app,” the Facebook spokesperson said, adding that the whole endeavour is aimed at the way Facebook is trying to shape its “sports narrative”.

The social media conglomerate is trying to bring in more sports content for its followers. They have a partnership with La Liga also, with regards to the Spanish football league’s digital content in India.

ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney cited this year’s World Cup’s digital popularity as a reason behind Facebook’s involvement in the game. “The record-breaking growth in digital consumption at this summer’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup demonstrated the continued power of cricket to connect and engage more deeply with diverse audiences around the world.

“Throughout the competitive bid process, we received tremendous interest from a range of platforms, all of whom recognise the phenomenal reach of cricket. In Facebook, we have a genuine partner who shares in our ambition to continue to grow and deepen engagement with cricket fans globally using its platforms,” he stated in a press release.

According to the ICC, the World Cup in England had 4.6 billion video views across the global body’s digital and social media platforms. Facebook India vice-president and managing director Ajit Mohan termed the arrangement as “the next stage of technology led transformation” in cricket.

“With Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, the ICC has an exceptional opportunity to leverage our family of apps to serve current sports fans as well as bring in an entirely new generation of fans. Every day, people come to our platforms to talk about, and form friendships around, cricket. With this partnership, we will be able to serve these fans with the kind of premium content that can ignite new conversations, new connections and new followership,” he said.

The company stressed that the deal would no way infringe the ICC’s global broadcast partner, Star Sports’ rights. “It’s not a screening deal. It won’t involve Facebook screening the matches. But it would involve content around the matches coming out on Facebook. For example, when a match is being broadcast, after an hour or so Facebook can have a top highlights package running. TV broadcast stays with Star and it’s not technically even clashing with Hotstar,” the spokesperson said.

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