The game of cricket cuts across generations and demographics and instills its fans with passion not just for their home team but for good sportsmanship irrespective of the team you support. From college-going kids to million-dollar start-up founders, we are all fans and can easily recall owning our first bat or aspiring to make it to the neighborhood league selection. These memories are so well etched in our hearts that just reading about them brings a sense of nostalgia and warmth.
If you ask a 90s kid about their favorite cricketer, it will either be Sachin Tendulkar or Ricky Ponting or Graeme Smith, these OGs Legends. These players laid the foundation for this passion that has defined the fans of this game and made ICC tournaments bigger than the biggest today. The “Gentleman’s Game” has traveled places across the globe with currently 12 countries as Full Members of ICC and 92 countries as Associate Members. Looking at the history and significance of any ICC tournament, what matters the most is the enormous prestige and honor it carries. It gives you the privilege of being the Number One Team in the universe until you fight again for the cup.
Twenty20 cricket, also known as T20, a truncated form of cricket, has revolutionized the game. This action-packed, powerplay-driven version of the game has changed the sport and made it more thrilling with finger-nail-biting match endings. With the introduction of cheerleaders, quick-fire entertainment, and an electrifying atmosphere, T20 has revived the game globally and pumped new blood and action into it. It demands new skills from the players including innovative ideas from the bowlers, extra commitment from the fielders, and some hard-hitting from the batsmen. This has boosted overall commitment and fitness across all formats of the game.
This year’s T20 will be unique in its own way. It will bring a sense of relief to the pandemic-affected human sentiments. We have been stuck at our homes for more than a year now, and the hunger to cheer for our favorite team at the ICC T20 World Cup is more powerful than ever. We haven’t had a very cheerful cricketing year due to Coronavirus making an unexpected comeback and postponing the fixtures indefinitely. This World Cup will restore the sense of normalcy and help usher in a world where we learn to live with social distancing. It is undoubtedly going to ignite our souls and meltdown our frozen world with its thrills and continuous action-packed entertainment. This event is going to be the therapeutic drug to revive the world and cricket fans all over.
Everybody is hungry for success and the competition is tough this year. This tournament is not just a gateway to victory for the member nations like India, Australia and Pakistan, to name a few, but it also acts as a platform for the associate nations like Papua New Guinea, Namibia, Oman, Scotland and the Netherlands who have qualified this year and are looking for their opportunity to shine globally. The competition is immense, with teams like Afghanistan and Bangladesh showing great match winners, strong spin attack, and excellent form during the last edition even beating top-notch nations like the West Indies, making this a very unpredictable and open competition. The phrase “Anybody’s Cup” could be used perfectly because predicting the result is tough due to the open nature of the game. Case in point, the 2019 England-New Zealand World Cup finals or the more recent India-New Zealand Test World Cup Finals. Both games turned in the last few overs leaving one country to win the cup and the other country to win hearts.
So we wait with bated breath, counting down the days to the event that will be the ultimate spectacle for all viewers, whether at the stadium or watching it live on their screens.
Increasingly people want to livestream their favorite sports on their personal devices. It is evident that the future of cricket viewership will be digital. With internet penetration increasing globally(59% in 2020), the popularity of digital streaming platforms is on the rise. The Cricket World Cup, 2019 shattered records with video content reaching over 4.6 billion views globally. Disney Hotstar reported a world record for the highest ever concurrent viewership of live streams with 25.3 million viewers during the semifinal between India and New Zealand. The most-watched match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 was India against Pakistan with 273 million unique users, with over another 50 million digital-only viewers tuned in.
“Personalised” content on the platform of your choice is the need of an hour. This would not only foster customer loyalty but also draw in new audiences across demographics. To be able to produce such content and do it in real-time requires the application of Artificial Intelligence technologies which are able to reduce manual editing hours and at the same time enable real-time publishing. Artificial intelligence is indeed the ‘Future of technology’, and unlocking the true potential of video content is the key to an intelligent, connected world.