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Cricket Leaps to the Forefront of Social Media

Contributor:
David Silversmith
David Silversmith
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While cricket is popular in certain countries around the world, it has always suffered on the international level without any play in the major US media market, but now cricket is stepping into the lead in Internet integration.

Cricket has deals brewing in both the Internet streamin and Internet social media / gaming spaces. Both Google and Facebook have major initiatives with the Indian Premier League (IPL)

Google India has signed a two-year deal with Global Cricket Ventures, the licensing partner to the Indian Premier League, which provides Google the exclusive rights to stream live cricket matches from the IPL on YouTube.  This is a huge deal because the streaming of the 2010 IPL season is the first time a large-scale global sporting event will be streamed. 

Indian Premier League Commissioner & Chairman, Lalit Modi  has set his sights on being "the single largest sporting league in the world."  With the Youtube deal expected to reach at least a half-a-billion viewers - he might actually have a shot at that boast.  Oddly enough, the primary country excluded from the YouTube deal is the US, because Willow TV already holds the North America internet rights.

But Modi has not stopped at streaming video.  The IPL has sold the the official gaming rights to the IPL tournament to Indiagames, one of of India’s largest gaming companies. Indiagames will be launching a series of web and mobile apps throughout the next 45 days of the IPL tournament. The first application, called IPL Indiagames T20 Fever, is an online game that uses Facebook Connect to allow users to create cricket teams consisting of both Facebook friends and IPL professional cricketers. This partnership will Facebook a much needed push against their rival social network Orkut.

A second game, IPL Indiagames 140Cricket,  will be based on a “Cricket Manager” concept and will target both Twitter and Facebook users to construct and manage teams. As if YouTube and Facebook were not big enough players, the IPL is finding a Twitter link too.

Cricket may be the quintessential reserved English game, but the the IPL is pushing into the 21st century to try and be the leader in integrating sports and the Internet.

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