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How cricket can attract and engage new audiences | Comments

How cricket can attract and engage new audiences | Comments


The summer of 1938 marked the first ever cricket broadcast by the BBC and the first ever cricket match to be televised in the world. Staff worked hard to prepare the infrastructure for this monumental occasion and to share it with those lucky enough to have a television audience.

Fast forward to the summer of 2023, and the Men's Cricket World Cup generated more than one trillion minutes of viewing time, capturing every angle of play and every moment of the action. Digital coverage drove a 23% increase in live traditional linear TV viewership and 177 billion minutes of live viewing consumed via streaming platforms. On social media, fans in every country tuned into the tournament, flooding platform feeds with user-generated gameplay analysis and two-way interactive commentary.

Catching up with Gen Z

While cricket is like a religion to fans in some countries, the sport's champions are working hard to ensure that cricket's image remains relevant among a younger fanbase. To capture lifelong supporters from new audiences, it's important not just to broadcast the match, but to provide a dynamic, interactive and personalized experience. The key to success lies in understanding the changing preferences of younger viewers and adapting to meet their expectations.

Broadcasters of any long-form sport need to optimise their multi-platform strategy and consider supplemental content on social media to bring the match to a wider audience. To maximise the value of their content, the cricket community needs to continually share in the right format throughout the tournament, which means publishing first on multiple social platforms with different requirements, ratios and optimal graphic overlay positions.

Driven by emotion

Emotion and adrenaline are key to connecting with GenZ audiences, and when combined with personalization, it becomes even more interactive. To do this effectively, broadcasters need to create attention-grabbing snapshots of key moments in the match using short-form video that appeals to the younger generation. There are plenty of exciting moments to be had in a cricket match, but with shortening attention spans, there is an urgent need to identify and extract these moments from the trillions of minutes recorded across a tournament.

GenZ values ​​immediacy and relevance, so real-time engagement is a key factor. Hence, the focus should be on unique experiences showcasing customized content that blends multiple highlights from different games while focusing on individual players. Providing customized theme-based content also makes it easy to incorporate sponsor messaging and brand overlays that appeal to fans. Audience participation through tappable interactive stories allows broadcasters to maintain engagement for a longer period and build more meaningful connections.

Real-time automation

Until recently, highlight reels and snapshots were relegated to an afterthought, with broadcasters missing out on the opportunity to connect with fans in real time simply because the editing effort was too large. But new technology has drastically reduced the production timeline for short-form content, allowing broadcasters to deliver next-generation storytelling and support their mission to reach new cricket fans. With a typical Indian Premier League season generating 74 matches and around 14,000 hours of play, manually recording these videos can be a tedious task. However, AI tools can process this footage in real time. In the 2022 season alone, around 3,500 social media stories were created through smart solutions.

AI video tagging and ML content creation workflows can deliver digital-ready highlight videos in a fraction of the time it takes with traditional editing. Automation tools have revolutionized content production, allowing broadcasters to quickly and easily deliver match highlights at scale and optimize engagement. However, smart content creation with facial recognition, video re-use, and metadata extraction will never replace the editor; it simply reduces deadline pressure and makes it easier to extract key moments and add human creativity with customizations, overlays, and graphics.

Social media engagement transforms the traditional one-way sports broadcast into an ongoing dialogue with fans, and by making the most of these platforms, broadcasters can reach younger audiences and ensure a bright future for cricket in the digital age.

Vinayak Shrivastav is CEO and Co-founder of Magnifi by VideoVerse.




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