The seventh IPL season wrapped up Sunday with Kolkata Knight Riders defeating Kings XI Punjab for their second title in three years. As the last runs were scored, @ESPNcricinfo was sharing the moment with more than 1.24 million followers from all over the world.
KKR were the worst team in the IPL for the first four seasons. And since then they've won 2 in 3.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) June 1, 2014
Over that same three-year period, the growth of @espncricinfo – the Twitter handle of the ESPNcricinfo website – has been strong and fast.
@ESPNcricinfo began in 2008, but it was not until shortly before the 2011 Cricket World Cup that it really took off. Since then, the growth has been phenomenal — now adding close to 100,000 followers a month. It earned its one-millionth follower in February 2014 (shortly before @ESPNNBA, which has 1.11M followers) and recently surpassed @ICC – the Twitter handle of the International Cricket Council (1.14M), cricket’s global governing body – in number of followers.
“The account has established its voice by balancing the stringent standards for trust and authority that fans expect from us, but adopting a lighter and more irreverent tone,” said Nitin Sundar, social media manager for ESPNcricinfo. “Its primary purpose is to provide cricket fans an alternative channel to consume our content. But as a platform, it also lets us show our ‘fan side’ a bit more.”
@ESPNcricinfo’s success on Twitter is particularly notable for a few reasons:
- With the exception of the U.S. and Caribbean, opportunities for television integration and cross promotion on ESPN networks are limited.
- Cricket’s following in the U.S. – the biggest Twitter-using nation – is growing significantly, but is still not “mainstream.”
- @ESPNcricinfo does not currently deliver match-video clips over Twitter in the sport’s traditional major markets.
Instead, @ESPNcricinfo’s following is driven by the same thing that has driven ESPNcricinfo for 20 years – passion that connects with fans, unmatched content and commentary, an authoritative global voice and the ability to react quickly and smartly to cricket news around the world.
The account is led out of ESPNcricinfo’s offices in Bangalore, India, but is a team effort – with ESPN employees in India, London, Australia and the U.S. all playing a role.