The Social Media Push For ISL

The Social Media Push For ISL The Indian Super League (ISL), which is touted to be a game changer for football, has had quite a successful opening. The league scored a record reach of 74.7 million on its first day and the cumulative reach for the first week was a whopping 170.6 million. These reach figures are the second highest for any sports league, after the twenty-twenty cricket league, IPL.

Now these numbers speak volumes about the encouraging response the league has got from the viewers. Interestingly, social media has played a key role in creating buzz around the league. Zafar Rais, CEO of MindShift Interactive says, “The digital era has put forward a platform for every property to reach a wider audience with an advantage of instant feedback. Indian Super League has strategically focused its campaign via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, garnering just about 70,000 mentions of the ISL on social media (majority of them on Twitter) in the last 15 days.”

Social Media Presence Of ISL
The league has quite a strong presence on key social media platforms including Facebook, twitter, youtube besides others. The leagues’ total fan likes on Facebook were a whopping 1,078,081. Twitter followers were 54,284 and YouTube had 2,298,298 views and 3,772 subscribers (As of October 26, 2014). Compared to the 20-20 cricket league IPL, these numbers look miniscule, yet they are quite encouraging, considering this being the first year of the league. Moreover, these numbers are much ahead of India’s domestic football league, the I-League.

Other than this, there are Facebook & Twitter accounts of the 8 teams that are part of the Indian Super League, namely – Mumbai City FC, Atletico De Kolkata, Delhi Dynamos, Kerala Blasters, Chennaiyin FC, FC Goa, FC Pune and Northeast United FC.

The Buzz Created So Far

There have been just about 70,000 mentions of the ISL on social media (majority of them on Twitter) in the last 15 days. The league’s follower count on Twitter is 1/29th of the fans of the EPL (English Premier League), and 1/14th of the fans of the IPL (Indian Premier League). So, it hasn’t really kicked off in India on the social media front as it would have expected.

#LetsFootball is the most popular hashtag that is trending around the league. With the general sentiment around the league being positive, males between the age group of 21-30 are the most who have used this hashtag. In terms of popularity, the hashtag is discussed more on Twitter than Facebook (source: Mindshift Interactive report). It is also more popular than the I-League, the traditional top division football league of India.

Stats around the hashtag #LetsFootball
Now, let us just look at some interesting statistics around the hashtag #LetsFootball.
● According to the Mindshift Interactive report, there were about 113,178 tweets, 1.06 billion impressions and 68,483 mentions of the hashtag on the day of ISL launch.
● These mentions of the hashtag have dropped considerably post launch day.
● On the opening day of the league, 5 of the 7 trending topics in India were related to ISL. These are: #LetsFootball, #IndianSuperLeague, #atleticodekolkata, #MumbaiCityFC and Luis Garcia.
● The Indian Super League is talked about in 50+ countries, including the likes of USA, UK, Indonesia and Brazil.

Celebrity Promotions On Twitter

The celebrity glitz has also helped the ISL generate buzz on social media platforms. Cricketers and film personalities like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and John Abraham co-own franchises in the ISL. These celebrities and a few others have added to the ISL social media zing by mentioning it in their tweets. During October 7th-14, 2014, the ISL got 1100 twitter mentions by Priyanka Chopra, 900 mentions by Sachin Tendulkar, 840 mentions by Hrithik Roshan, 635 mentions by Sourav Ganguly, 440 mentions by Ranbir Kapoor, 400 mentions by Abhishek Bachchan and 130 mentions by John Abraham.

Looking at these numbers, one can say that social media has helped create a good initial buzz for the league. Though there is a need for a lot more to be done, not just this season but in the forthcoming seasons, to take the ISL to the heights of other popular leagues like the IPL and EPL.