The rivalry between IPL teams is spilling over to the social media platform ahead of the season five of the T20 league as they intensify campaigns to drum up support of fans through sites like Facebook and Twitter.
With the social networking sites providing the opportunity to fans to interact with their star players, teams like Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are leaving no stone unturned to exploit the opportunity to add more supporters.
"Social media is one of the most important tools and an integral part of any team to reach out to the fans now. We have been stagnant for the past four years but this year we have really activated it," Delhi Daredevils Head of Marketing and Commercial Hemant Dua told PTI.
He said from just about 30,000 fans on Facebook for the past four years, Delhi Daredevils has increased it to 2,30,000 in the last few months.
"We have been holding a lot of contests for the fans, like designing the mascot for the team, and it has helped," Dua said, adding this year three fans will be selected through a contest to travel with the team to report on the team's off-field activities.
Similarly, Chennai Super Kings has touched over seven lakh followers on its Facebook page over the past two months from just 40,000 earlier following intensified campaign to utilise the social media platform
"What we have done is assign different roles to different sites. For instance we are using Twitter for news related to the team, while Facebook has been used as platform for interaction.
Also we are using different activities involving fans, including contests," India Cements general Manager Marketing Chandrabhan said. India Cements own the Chennai Super Kings. Likewise, Mumbai Indians has also kicked off 'Players Become Friends' campaign designed to increase the interaction between the players and the fans in the digital space.
"This year our focus is completely on digital media. We will be having a new TV commercial and ground promotions for IPL 5 but the main thrust is to capitalise on the social platform to reach out to Mumbai Indians fans and make them feel as an integral part of the team," a Mumbai Indian spokesperson said.
Mumbai Indians have nearly 2.5 million followers on Facebook fan page 'MI Paltan', he said, adding the aim of the campaign is to encourage them engaging with the players rather than being mere spectators.
The team is also using personalised video messages from Mumbai Indians players, including Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh, as part of the 'Players Become Friends' social media campaign that will carried out on out-of-home and radio along with TV, he added.
While the teams are reluctant to share their spendings on the social media campaigns, Dua of Delhi Daredevils said:"Our spending on digital media has definitely increased, to almost double but it is all about spending judiciously and trying to make the right connect with the fans."