Social media key to sports leagues’ appeal

  • Social media can make a difference in leagues such as Pro Kabaddi by getting fans to attend more games and buy more products from sponsors, says study

Shijith Kunhitty
Updated15 Mar 2021, 08:45 AM IST
Pro kabaddi calls for relentless action, which makes it an ideal platform for younger players. Photo: AP
Pro kabaddi calls for relentless action, which makes it an ideal platform for younger players. Photo: AP

The Pro Kabaddi League is one of the biggest successes in professional sports in India. A new study has found a link between social media and the league’s riches. Social media makes fans more involved in the sport, encouraging them to attend more matches and buy more products from sponsors, giving stakeholders a better return on their investment.

The study, by Jay Trivedi and others at MICA, Ahmedabad, is based on an online survey of over 400 Facebook users in 2019-20. The survey was targeted at Gen Y users born between 1981 and 1995 as they form the largest viewerbase for Pro Kabaddi.

When people are into a sport, they want more information on it online. Social media feeds this curiosity by providing team news, pre-game buildups, score updates and video highlights. Fans get more involved and want to participate more, meaning watching more games on TV and attending more games in person.

People wanting to be present at games is important for organizers as it generates more revenue from ticket sales, and is important for broadcasters as it helps create a livelier atmosphere for TV viewers.

Communities also form around the sport on platforms such as Facebook, where fans share information about teams, debate with each other or have fun by sharing memes. Social media promotes this engagement by creating online games for fans to play and other competitions where they can get prizes such as match tickets or meetings with their favourite players.

Online communities can also do activities with sponsors to increase interest in their brand. Sponsors can give their own products as rewards in these competitions, and the desire for these rewards will give greater reach to sponsors, leading to a possible boost in future sales.

Also read: “Exploring the Role of Social Media Communications in the Success of Professional Sports Leagues: An Emerging Market Perspective”

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First Published:15 Mar 2021, 08:45 AM IST
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