CricFan to redefine cricket entertainment with fans-first strategy: Marc Hayward

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Mumbai: CricFan, the brainchild of London-based media entrepreneur and television producer Marc Hayward, is set to roll out a range of fan-centric cricket television and digital formats in India in the coming months.

With the backing of an English Premier League club owner, the company is set to introduce a series of innovative formats, prioritizing fan engagement.

In an interview with mint, Hayward said CricFan's journey began a year ago, driven by the vision of making a significant contribution to the world of cricket. “There is no place in the world where anything is bigger than cricket in India. We wanted to be the biggest producers of fan-centric content in India,” he said.

The company has already created three television formats: “FanzoneTV”, “Cricket Chirps” and “Queens of Cricket”, the latter celebrating women's cricket.

Its flagship show, 'FanzoneTV', billed as 'for fans by fans', will return to screens in mid-February, building anticipation for the IPL in 2024. The aim is to give fans 'a voice” and to facilitate “controversies”. cricket debates.

“FanzoneTV aims to create an ecosystem where brands can discuss and debate in a friendly but robust manner, bringing cricket to a wider audience. Likewise, Queens of Cricket aims to celebrate and support the growth of women's cricket at the “global scale,” Hayward added.

CricFan has partnered with influencers known for their controversial and opinionated views. Hayward highlighted the importance of collaborating with brands to foster an ecosystem of discussion and debate in a fan-focused format, thereby carving out a distinctive niche in the cricket entertainment landscape.

Hayward highlighted the importance of launching these formats in India, working with Indian producers to shape content for international licensing and distribution. The company plans to expand its formats to the United States during the T20 World Cup in June 2024.

“We believe India is the ideal place to start these formats and work with Indian producers who are by far the best we have ever worked with globally,” he remarked. “We will introduce formats produced in India to a global audience, challenging the traditional landscape where Westernized formats often dictate trends.

Not limited to traditional broadcasting, CricFan plans to launch live interactive game shows on mobile phones, available on iOS and Android. Contestants have a chance to win money in an elimination-based format reminiscent of shows like “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

CricFan's future plans include setting up a studio in Mumbai, with an investment of around £1 million. Hayward sees this facility not only for CricFan's use, but also as an opportunity for young filmmakers and content creators to collaborate and generate content.

The company's digital strategy aligns with the changing preferences of young audiences. Recognizing the popularity of short-form content on social media platforms, CricFan plans to create modular content, allowing for rapid distribution and interaction within the community. “We believe content displays best on a mobile phone screen. Short-form content is the future, and we aim to create an ecosystem where we can engage with audiences through social media,” Hayward concluded.

Hayward expressed his belief in India's immense potential, drawing parallels with the American dream. “I view India as a hub for content creation and anticipate significant growth and opportunities in the Indian market over the next ten years. »

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Published: Jan 04, 2024, 04:47 PM IST

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