The 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) culminated amidst much fanfare after 8 weeks of competitive action in the UAE. With a new venue, changed schedule, and matches played in empty stadiums, this was an unprecedented time for the league, but a challenge that was overcome in grand fashion.
The coverage of the IPL and its consumption, too, saw a sea of change without crowds at the venues. India’s leading news platform, Asianet News, announced itself as a one-stop destination for sports fans with its extensive and inventive coverage of the IPL in 7 different languages – English, Hindi, Bangla, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu. Asianet News’ robust match center featured live scores, ball-by-ball commentary, and interactive widgets in each of its languages along with over 1500 video and 6000 articles to not only cater to serious cricket aficionados but also the casual sports fans.
Giving the IPL a localized approach along with wide international coverage through its clutter-free and in-depth cricket platform helped Asianet News reach out to 7 native language speakers, garnering tremendous traction during the tournament. This unique approach to the IPL saw the company clock an astonishing 350% growth in Unique Visitors and 1290% growth in Page Views vis a vis IPL 2019. The IPL also helped the organization smash the 1 Billion pageviews mark as it registered 1.3 Billion pageviews and 75 Million users in October 2020.
It was not just the sports fans, however, that enjoyed the offerings. Brands from different industries partnered with Asianet News to take advantage of its presence in UAE – IPL 2020 host country – and India.
Unilever International, through its brands – Brooke Bond Red Label and Lifebuoy, came on board as the Presenting Sponsor for Asianet News’ coverage of IPL 2020. As an exercise to engage with cricket fans, Lifebuoy also partnered with the platform to conduct weekly contests during the tournament.
One of the biggest fantasy cricket players, MyTeam11, saw this as an opportunity to expand its userbase by increasing its penetration in vernacular audiences. They were the Associate Sponsors for Asianet News’ IPL coverage in 4 languages – Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu. Two-wheeler giants Honda also came on board as the Auto Partner.
Having created a splash with the 2020 IPL, Asianet News’ all-inclusive and in-depth approach to sports coverage is set to continue for all the major upcoming tournaments.
“The IPL, despite its numerous languages and regional audience, never had an in-depth local flavour to its sports coverage. Our market research and user feedback shaped our plans for the IPL and we set to work on providing our audience extensive content, stats, live scores, commentary, and data in all 7 languages which amassed massive response from our users. We will be launching more sports-related properties keeping our regional language strategy at the core,” Abhinav Khare, CEO, Asianet News Network, elaborated on the company’s strategy.