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Sixes Vs Socials: Decoding Cricket Mania Marketing in IPL 2024

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The Indian Premier League (IPL) isn’t just about electrifying cricket matches played across 13 cities; it’s a social media phenomenon that grips the nation. From March 22nd to May 26th, 2024, the 10 teams – Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Lucknow Super Giants, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat Titans, Punjab Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Sunrisers Hyderabad – will battle it out on the field, a parallel war happens online – the war of influencer marketing while the cricket mania rages on.

A recent report by Qoruz paints a clear picture: influencer marketing in the IPL is poised for a massive 50% growth in 2024. Let’s delve deeper into the stats and see how influencers are playing a crucial role in this cricket extravaganza.

The Rise of Influencer Mentions:

The IPL’s social media buzz has been steadily rising. In 2019, there were just 1411 mentions of the IPL on influencer Instagram posts. That number skyrocketed to a staggering 6884 in 2023, highlighting the growing power of influencers in driving online conversations.

IPL Teams Leading As Social Media Superstars

The official Instagram pages of the teams themselves have become social media powerhouses. Chennai Super Kings, the five-time champions, lead the pack with a whopping 13.9 million followers, followed closely by Mumbai Indians (12.4 million) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (12.1 million). These teams understand the importance of online engagement and leverage their massive followings to build excitement.

King Kohli Retains Influencer Crown:

When it comes to player influence, Virat Kohli remains the undisputed king. Qoruz’s report assigns him an “influence score” of 9.8, followed by Shubhman Gill (9.06) and Mohammed Shami (8.98). These players are fan favorites across teams and naturally land the most lucrative brand collaborations.

Sports Influencers Dominate, JioCinema Shines:

Sports influencers continue to dominate the IPL influencer marketing landscape, accounting for a whopping 54% of all collaboration deals. JioCinema emerged as the undisputed champion in influencer collaborations during the 2023 season. Partnering with 77 influencers who generated 225 posts and garnered a staggering 5.4 million likes, JioCinema set a new benchmark for social media engagement during the IPL.

Hashtags: The Fuel for Engagement:

Brands are increasingly using creative, IPL-specific hashtags to amplify their campaigns. Myntra’s #cricketfeverwithmyntra and KFC’s #rollsat99 are prime examples. Interestingly, Qoruz’s report reveals a clear connection between influencer collaborations and brand growth. Myntra, for instance, saw a 5% increase in its audience post-IPL, demonstrating the effectiveness of this strategy.

Also Read: IPL 2024 Poised for a 50% Influencer Marketing Boom

Franchisees Up Their Social Media Game During IPL Cricket Mania

A new trend has emerged this year: IPL franchises are actively forging partnerships with content creators and influencers to boost engagement on their social media pages. Recognizing the immense popularity of the tournament online, teams are looking to leverage the power of influencers to connect with their fan bases. These partnerships extend beyond cricket, offering fans a glimpse into the players’ off-field lives.

Content Creators: From Funny Reels to Behind-the-Scenes Access

The type of content created by influencers varies across teams. Some, like Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), partner with comedians like Shubham Gaur to create humorous reels featuring the players. Others, like Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), have established long-standing partnerships with personalities like Danish Sait, who uses humor and quirky questions to engage with the cricketers. Teams like Rajasthan Royals (RR) have tapped into influencer talent like Taran Singh, known for his cricket-themed enactments, while Punjab Kings (PBKS) have partnered with stand-up comedians to create funny content. In the 2023 season, Gujarat Titans (GT)’s collaboration with former tennis player Tanvi Shah as their “GT insider” offered fans behind-the-scenes access through YouTube videos featuring player and coach interactions.

IPL 2024 promises to be a spectacle not just on the field but also in the vibrant online arena. With influencer marketing poised for a significant surge, the IPL is set to witness a captivating social media battleground where teams and brands fight for the hearts and minds of cricket fans across the nation.

Anusuya is a content samurai, slaying mediocrity with creativity. This Calcutta-born and Bengaluru-raised girl loves crafting compelling content across all realms; social media posts that pop to website copy that sells. When she's not hunched over her laptop, you'll find her creating Pinterest boards for her next vacation or binge-watching Asian dramas.

Gaming

S8UL Adds To GTA RP Roster with Creators Sunny Jha, Adil Maniar, Arpit Wadhawan

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The Indian gaming scene is warming up. S8UL, a prominent esports and gaming organization, has announced the onboarding of three dynamic gaming creators: Sunny Jha, Adil Maniar, and Arpit Wadhawan. These creators are set to spearhead S8UL’s Grand Theft Auto Role-Play (GTA RP) roster. Besides, a move that will help S8UL focus on expanding its influence in the GTA RP community.

This strategic addition will significantly enhance S8UL’s efforts in promoting GTA RP. Moreover, a genre that emphasizes role-play, collaboration, and narrative-driven interactions among players. With the addition of these creators, S8UL plans to elevate the multiplayer experience of “Grand Theft Auto V” (GTA V).

S8UL Expands Influence in Grand Theft Auto Role-Playpen_spark

Lokesh Jain, known in the gaming world as 8Bit Goldy and co-founder of S8UL, shared his enthusiasm about the new additions. “I believe the addition of Jha, Maniar, and Wadhawan to S8UL is more than an extension of our GTA roster. It aims to be a testament to S8UL’s commitment to nurturing and promoting talent within India’s gaming landscape,” Jain commented.

Sunny Jha, Adil Maniar, and Arpit Wadhawan are all known for their unique contributions to the gaming community. Their involvement is expected to inject fresh energy into S8UL’s GTA RP initiatives. Furthermore, attracting new players and viewers, and setting new standards for interactive and immersive gameplay.

S8UL’s focus on GTA RP comes at a time when the genre is gaining significant traction among gamers worldwide. Role-playing in GTA V allows players to create and live out complex stories. However, interacting with other players in a virtual world that mimics real-life scenarios. This form of gameplay not only entertains but also fosters creativity, strategic thinking, and community building.

With the addition of Jha, Maniar, and Wadhawan, S8UL is well-positioned to become a leading force in the Indian GTA RP Roster scene. As S8UL continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible in esports and gaming. However, the future looks promising for Indian gamers eager to explore new horizons in the world of GTA RP.

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Cricketer Saurabh Netravalkar’s ‘musician’ avatar makes waves on Instagram

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Saurabh Netravalkar USA cricket captain talented musician - The Reelstars

Saurabh Netravalkar, the Oracle engineer who spearheaded the US cricket’s team win over Pakistan at the T20 World Cup this week, is a man of many talents. Few know that the 32 year old cricketer plays the ukulele and is also a good vocalist. Besides, with a staunch and growing fan following on Instagram.

The Indian-born American cricketer and software engineer who has captained the United States team. Furthermore, has been living in the US since 2015 but obviously hasn’t forgotten his roots. While he regularly posts his recipes for ragi porridge and yoga regimen on Instagram. However, it’s his passion for music which has struck a chord with his 34.3k followers. His latest video of him singing Shankar Mahadevan’s popular Marathi track ‘Man Udhaan Varyaache’, posted on May 25, has garnered over 15000 likes and counting. Singing to the accompaniment of his favourite instrument, the ukulele, he wrote, “Winding down strumming on our rest day! This song is a Great life lesson on the nature of the ever wandering human mind! Mann Udhan Varyache sung by @shankar.mahadevan sir! What a gem of a song!”

His love for Marathi songs is apparent. A few days earlier, he sang another popular track ‘Radha Hi Baavari’, captioning it “Wind down casual strumming on the ukulele after the game! Radha Hi Bawari, just love this song by @swapnnil_bandodkar !”
Among other tracks he has put out are the devotional track ‘Keshava Madhava Tujhya Naamaat Re Godva’ and the ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ chant. He has also earlier sung Strings’ Duur, and several other songs from Marathi movies. Netra as he is known among colleagues, is obviously a Marathi movie fan!

Saurabh Netravalkar, who made his first-class debut for Mumbai in the 2013–14 Ranji Trophy on 22 December 2013. And moved to the US for further studies. During the USA vs Pakistan match, Saurabh picked up 2 wickets in a spell of 4 overs and delivered the Super Over too. Moreover, where he successfully defended the target to hand the USA the now famous win.
After his spectacular performance, memes flooded social media. However, proclaiming him to be living the Indian dream – an engineer by day, and playing international cricket.

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Cosplay Takes the Field in India’s Pop Culture Arena

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Ever played dress up as a child? Or put together a last-minute Halloween costume? Well, then you definitely know the struggle is real. Inherently, cosplay is a portmanteau of the word’s “costume” and “play,” and like the name suggests it means just that. There was a time when cosplay was considered nerdy by most and perhaps still is but that just led to the formation of a found-family community that loves the art of cosplay and have come to be known as ‘Cosplayers’. The cosplayer scene in India is growing daily and with Gen Z in a constant dilemma whether they want to be with their favorite character or literally BE their favorite character, cosplay came knocking right on time! It has created a phantasmagoria, that feeds right into Gen Z’s delusion.

Ever since Comic Con launched in India, in 2011, the rage it created was unparalleled. From sewed fabrics, to skewed perspectives, the tornado of emotions that dare to overwhelm just before the day of the event are a force to be reckoned with. It is usually seen as a phase or a hobby that is acceptable as long it stays that way. People are either ignorant or totally unaware of the monetary profit that cosplay could provide, when done right. But wait, not everyone is, so buckle up as we introduce you to these Indian cosplayers, that are an inspiration to cosplay novices and veterans!

1) Medha Shrivastava:

Shape-shifting? Nah, Medha calls it cosplay. Embodying newer avatars is cake-walk for her and if her career choices don’t impress you, then her artistic abilities sure will! She has a degree in animation and film design for Symbiosis Institute of Design and her conceptualization skills will give you all the creative inspo you need. She has a background in films, gaming and creative as well as performing arts and it was only a matter of time before she gave into cosplay calling her name. The very essence of her art is that she becomes one with the art emotionally and quite literally.

It was back when she was working as a game artist in Bangalore, that she heard about Comic Con and it was her boss who convinced her to participate. She was sceptical at first and thought that it was some fancy-dress competition but her curiosity got the better of her and she gave it a shot. She managed to create a few costumes and after quite a few failed attempts finalised one.

In June, she decided to participate in the Comic Con India Cosplay contest 2023 and to no one’s surprise took home the Cosplay Championship Trophy for her rendition of Alexstrasza, a character from the much loved ‘World of Warcraft’.  In the years preceding the event, she loved to attended Comic Con as an artist and was fascinated by the plethora of cosplayers, donning their outfits as they tribute their favourite characters. Megha soon realized that she was instantly enamoured by the glamour and grandeur that the event brought with it and found herself drawn back each year for more.

Along with having fun, she also used this as a learning process, carefully studying each cosplayer, analyzing their costume, make-up and other intricacies with an artist’s eye of appreciation for each detail and she believes that’s what helped her gain inspiration and the carefully build her look, creating something magical. In 2019, she participated in the ‘International Cosplay Contest’, held in Shanghai and became the first woman to win the championship and that was what really boosted her confidence to take this up professionally.

Many people don’t understand the effort that goes into cosplaying and so it was quite a strenuous task to get them to pay fairly at first but she soon began collaborating with brands like Amazon, Netflix and other OTT and even gaming companies. She has worked on artwork for the music producer A.R. Rahman. She also did an interview with ‘Lounge’, where she spoke about her journey and how she maintains the balance between handling her art career, cosplay and also mentioned about learning from her peers. She often spent most of her days on her home terrace and used to immerse herself in art for hours together.

Soon her mom began to get frustrated with the paint cans and glue strewn everywhere and she had to look for an alternate accommodation. Thus, nowadays, you will find her and a couple of other cosplayer friends housed together in space they’ve rented out in Mumbai. It may be small but it is an absolute artistic haven, be it heads full of novel ideas or bunch of empty spray paint bottles, you will find it all. The only thing that Megha loves more than work is her family, especially her late grandma who always stood by her as a pillar of support. Today, her artistic capabilities and skill have impressed tons of people online and her artistic excellence was acknowledged and applauded globally.

2) Tanya Shringarpure:

She hates following rules and to her luck, cosplaying has absolutely none. Tanya a.k.a. Syrinx is a veterinarian by profession but a cosplayer at heart! Costume disaster? or simply craving fashion-inspo? Don’t fret, her never-ending creative hacks have got you covered. Cosplay to her is synonyms to freedom. It gives her the liberty to express herself as she embodies newer characters and grows. In a world full of restrictions, it gives her the freedom that she thrives in. She believes that the lack of restraint that cosplay has to offer, really gets her creative juices flowing and she thrives in her new-found freedom.

The layman’s perspective is that cosplaying includes no creativity and it is simply a glorified version of copying and they believe that you identify a character and simply copy everything about their persona. Well, then they are either ignorant or simply refuse to see the intricacy, creativity and art that oozes out of every costume and Tanya is here to prove just that. She believes that cosplay comes to life when you add your own personal touch and create a rendition like never before. She isn’t afraid of experimenting and the newer looks she keeps trying are an example of just that. Having cosplayed for so long she has made like-minded friends, who constantly appreciate and support her art.

Her talent in sewing has enabled her to build her costumes from scratch and also given the independence to not depend on anyone else and execute her idea, how she wishes to. The essence of cosplay has broken all gender normativity as artists now have the freedom to embody any character that appeals to them and that is not gender specific. This is also one of the reasons why, after the first time she cosplayed, she couldn’t stop! She soon used her talent at making wigs and today stands as a life saver to many cosplayers, as she rents out her affordable, unique and diverse range of wigs to cosplayers looking to add some extra sass to their costume!

3) Sameer Bandela:

If you ever attend a cosplay event and need some awesome pictures taken, Sameer is the guy to call. Being a photographer by profession has helped him observe and create amazing looks, that will leave you gaping. He has been the reigning champion at the Indian Cosplay Championship in 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021. At a Cosplay event, you will either find him behind the camera or on the winner’s podium! He has a keen eye for detail and every look that he creates is a reflection of just that. He is a perfectionist by nature and there have been times in the past where he has said ‘It’s terrible, I will never finish’ and then gone on to win a trip to Chicago. Today, Sameer has won multiple competitions and truly made a mark for himself.

4) Aorin Shariyari:

It’s funny how her user name aptly describes us more than her as she has truly coloured all of us curious. She knows the ins and outs of cosplay and has been in the industry for what feels like forever. Aorin credits her love for colour, fantasy and interest in characters to her background in gaming. She loves to understand the art and creativity that goes behind each costume and today she has managed to create some magic of her own. She is one the few people that has made their obsession and profession the same and she’s enjoying every moment of it.

5) Surya Sreenivasan:

Surya’s costumes are so hyper realistic that it literally feels like the character has come to life. He is an expert at cosplaying, costume making and often gives a little sneak peek of the effort and work that goes into the making of each costume in his BTS videos on Instagram. His fans are always in for a treat when he posts, as they get a better glimpse of him sans all the heavy costume and makeup. He also posts many beginners friendly tutorials that are super helpful for beginners as well as anyone who’s curious about what cosplaying has to offer.

The unlimited options and characters that you could choose from are never-ending and so is his creativity. While costume making, his creativity knows no boundaries he makes the best use of things you wouldn’t even imagine using. A little foam, glue, fabric and of course Surya’s touch and there you have it, a larger-than-life costume, that is sure to leave you in awe! (In typical Surya fashion).

Be it the tears in their eyes or every intricately crafted tear in their fabrics, the skill and attention-to-detail that cosplaying requires, is truly underestimated in India. These cosplayers have broken all the stereotypical notions that people have about cosplay and they have proven that it is an art that when taken seriously, is sure you give you all the artistic liberty that you need to express yourself. Through their costumes and hard work thus far, they have inspired tons of people to express themselves and have also set newer benchmarks, that they themselves strive to break as they grow and improve with each costume. If you are already into cosplay then you will surely appreciate the hard work, determination, thought and creativity, that goes behind each costume. And if you’re not into cosplay, then these very qualities are sure to convince you otherwise.  

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