Ahead of the upcoming 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) season, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) has collaborated with an Israeli firm for building a technology platform to engage with the fans and also get an edge over its rivals.
Virat Kohli-led RCB has formed the strategic collaboration with Israel-based Interacting Technology Sports to place the fans at centre stage and unite them on an innovative digital community platform. This includes RCB mobile application where fan groups and communities from varied parts of the country support the team not only during the season but throughout the year. This platform is powered by Interacting Technology Sports, that has expertise about how communities interact within the digital community.
“I met RCB months back and we discussed a lot about their values, what they wanted to promote and how they wanted to (engage) with fans as a brand and I felt it is a nice project,” said Liav Eliash, chief executive of Interacting Technology Sports. He said although Israel is a small country, cricket is very much popular there. Eliash said that his firm is also offering technologies such as data analytics and machine learning to help RCB understand the rival teams better and get a competitive edge.
The new platform unveiled by RCB would enable the fans to follow each other, post, like and share each other’s thoughts about the team. Fans will be able to discover new content, interact with the players and influencers. They would also be able to participate in one-on-one and group chats, get access to exclusive content like behind the scene, training, a day in a life of the players and lifestyle. The fans can follow ball by ball commentary, see a live scorecard and league standings. Within the e-commerce engine, they will be able to purchase tickets and merchandise, receive updates and notification on special offers on a single platform. Royal Challengers Bangalore chairman Sanjeev Churiwala said that there are over 400 million smartphone users in the country and the people especially the millennials watch sports on their phones. “The sport is moving to the palm…we would like millions of RCB fans to be able to feel connected to the team,” said Churiwala, who aims to achieve this through the RCB app.
The brand value of IPL increased 19% to reach $6.3 billion in 2018 from $5.3 billion in 2017, supported by the broadcasting rights fee surging at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.9%, according to a study by New York-based consultancy firm Duff & Phelps.
However, RCB has never won the IPL trophy despite reaching the finals three times since the start of the first season 10 years ago. But India captain Virat Kohli, who is also the captain of RCB said that having reached three finals and not having that trophy, “we never felt that there was lack of enthusiasm for starting a season,” said Kohli. “And that’s something that stands out to me the most and that can only happen when you have such a strong fan base.”
Kohli said what is important for any team is laying down the culture about striving for excellence and being committed to what they want to achieve. “That takes commitment on a daily basis. And that is something I am looking forward to seeing,” said Kohli.
Former South African cricketer and RCB coach Gary Kirsten said that the coaching staff is helping the players to realise their individual potential. “We are making sure that we help the team to be the best version of themselves… and making sure the team is best prepared as it can be,” said Kirsten.