After the playing ground and television, the marketing of the DLF Indian Premier League has moved to cyberspace. Some of the teams have drawn up plans to beef up their web presence with new interactive features.
GMR Holding's Delhi Daredevils team plans to introduce a 3D interactive feature on its portal for e-learning in sports.
"We intend to host an online academy where one can learn bowling techniques, for instance," said Yogesh Shetty, CEO GMR Sports, adding: "Users can send us a video of their playing technique, and our experts can give their feedback." The portal already has around 30,000 registered numbers.
Preity Zinta's Kings XI Punjab too is gearing up for a buzzing net presence, but in the second edition of the league.
"We just had two months before the start of the league. However, by the second season, we intend to gear up with a few initiatives," said CEO Neil Maxwell.
But the lead seems to have been taken by Shah Rukh Khan's Kolkata Knight Riders. It has an exclusive tie-up with Zapak Digital Entertainment for online games.
While Contest2win will create interactive content, Hungama Mobile, which has the music rights of the team, is in the process of rechristening these tunes to 'Koller Tunes' from caller tunes.
Hungama Mobile will also develop a WAP community, voice-based contests, games, trivia and social networking around the team players.
Zapak will create a dedicated cricket zone on the official website of Kolkata Knight Riders and is learnt to be investing around Rs 1 crore into it.
As of now, the portal has gone live with two games. Zapak will release 4-5 games in the next two weeks' time. In total, Zapak will launch 10 games.
Market experts think that this is crucial for the teams as it will help them create a community around their players. However, creating the right content will be crucial.
"Kolkata Knight Riders has made interesting content around the team and players and there is value in distributing this content," said Hungama Mobile Managing Director and CEO Neeraj Roy, adding: "I don't think a user is just anymore interested in downloading a wallpaper of a favourite player. It has to go beyond that."
Contest2Win has put a completely different format to cash in on the rising popularity of the league. Currently, the portal has 280 IPL-related contests created by the users themselves.
"We decided to tap into the cricket experts out there and give them an opportunity to create their own games and play them too. The results have left us surprised," said Rajagopal Menon, the chief operating officer of Contest2win.com.
Contest2Win is also creating quizzes and hangman contests for Kolkata Knight Riders based on the team, its matches, players and some fiction elements (Hoog Lee, 12th Man etc).
"We started with six contesting properties. Very soon a few more will be added to that list. We are looking at adding 2-3 new contests every day," said Menon.
Teams as well as content developers feel that once the community feel or fan following has been done, there will be enough avenues for revenue generation. While advertisement will be the main revenue generator, merchandise and exclusive interviews of players on the sites will drive the online community.
"Cricket as a gaming property is already doing well. We definitely think that there is a huge opportunity in IPL for creating content," said Vishal Gondal, founder and director, Indiagames.