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What RCB plans to do with IPL fans

By Peerzada Abrar
March 19, 2019 11:11 IST
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Virat Kohli's franchise wants to unite fans on an innovative digital community platform.
Peerzada Abrar reports.

IMAGE: Bowling Coach Ashish Nehra, Head Coach Gary Kirsten, Captain Virat Kohli, RCB Chairman Sanjay Churiwala at the Royal Challengers Bangalore mobile app launch. Photograph: PTI

Ahead of the upcoming 2019 Indian Premier League season, Royal Challengers Bangalore has collaborated with an Israeli firm to build a technology platform to engage with fans and get an edge over its rivals.

The 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 different 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," says Liav Eliash, chief executive, Interacting Technology Sports.

Although Israel is a small country, Eliash says cricket is a popular sport there.

Eliash's firm is also offering data analytics and machine learning to help RCB understand 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 scenes, 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 says there are over 400 million smartphone users in the country and Indians -- especially 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," says Churiwala who aims to achieve this through the RCB app.

IPL's brand value 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 of 18.9%, according to a study conducted by the New York-based consultancy firm Duff & Phelps.

RCB has never won the IPL despite reaching the finals three times.

India Captain Virat Kohli, who also captains RCB, says having reached three finals and not having that trophy, "we never felt there was lack of enthusiasm for starting a season."

"And that's something that stands out to me the most and that can only happen when you have such a strong fan base," the skipper adds.

What is important for any team, Kohli explains, 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," says Kohli.

Former South African cricketer, former India coach and RCB Head Coach Gary Kirsten says the coaching staff is helping the players realise their individual potential.

"We are making sure we help the team to be the best version of themselves... and making sure the team is best prepared as it can be," says Kirsten.


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Peerzada Abrar
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