42million not out for ECB
Matching England’s outstanding performances on the pitch during the npower Ashes Series, the ECB’s new media channels - led by its official website ecb.co.uk - have been registering some big-hitting performances online.
Millions of supporters have followed the action and searched for updates and exclusive behind-the-scenes content during the exciting summer, which has seen cricket’s fan base rise from 10.5m to 12.7m (source: TNS).
The digital experts at the ECB have revealed that more than 750,000 cricket fans logged on to ecb.co.uk in July, generating 13m page impressions, double the amount compared to the same period last year.
And in the Ashes-winning month of August, more than 600,000 users hit the site - twice the amount in August 2008; only England’s victory in four days at the Brit Oval denying a bumper haul of online visitors on the final day of the series to push that total well above the record set in July.
Re-launched in April to coincide with ECB’s The Great Exhibition campaign, ecb.co.uk has been continually updated to include everything a fan needs to stay in touch with a feast of international and domestic fixtures during the 2009 season, billed as the ‘greatest ever’.
The busiest days for the site were July 8, the first day of the opening Test, with 993,000 page impressions as England rattled up 336 for seven; and August 20, with 992,000 as England headed towards a decisive victory at the start of the final Test.
The four days of the Oval Test scored highest for unique visitors, totalling 199,000.
In total 180,000 fans visited the site during the Cardiff Test, slightly more than the Lord’s Test, which attracted 174,000 visitors, many of whom used the popular live scores functions.
This year more than 3.5 million unique users have visited ecb.co.uk, contributing to almost 53 million page impressions.
Many more have followed this summer’s action by using the ECB’s Facebook, twitter and YouTube channels - all of which have growing communities in the thousands.
One of the strongest performers this summer has been the YouTube channel for TwelfthMan, Official Fan Community of England Cricket, which has now clocked up more than 1m video views thanks to the release of 2005 Ashes archive highlights, a flow of player interviews and the unique Fans Jerusalem - with a special one-off upload of final session highlights from the Oval Test amassing 205,000 views alone.
The TwelfthMantv channel was the most viewed on YouTube’s UK network the day after the Ashes finale, and 11th with the global YouTube audience!
Boasting unparalleled exclusive material for each format of the game, ecb.co.uk and it’s sister broadband channel ECBtv have also featured video of the all-conquering England women’s team, England Lions, Under-19s, county and recreational competitions.
These videos, which are syndicated to various media websites via the ECBtv Cricket Channel on Perform’s Omnisport eplayer, have been watched by more than 5m people and totalled more than 17.5m video streams betwen June and August alone.
ECB’s free cricket application for the iPhone, released in May, has now been downloaded by more than 150,000 users - and has been consistently in the top three most popular sports apps in the official iTunes store all summer.
The TwelfthMan section of ecb.co.uk has also been offering visitors access to exclusive features such as behind-the-scenes videos from within the England camp, both home and abroad, the England team blog - to date Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Jonathan Trott and James Anderson are among those to have given an insight into life in the dressing room - and a weekly podcast, available to download and via iTunes, which covers all aspects of cricket in England and Wales, from internationals to grassroots.
The TwelfthMan Extra, the fortnightly enewsletter, now goes to over 160,000 people - a 60 per cent increase in subscription over the last four months.
Another popular feature has been the TwelfthMan Wall of Support where fans and celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Gary Lineker, Boris Johnson and Piers Morgan have uploaded messages for the players which were shown to the England team in the build up to each crucial npower Ashes Test match.
Celebrity cricket fans have also been influential this summer in driving traffic to the ECB website via Tweets, the most notable supporters include Stephen Fry (727,830 followers) and Lily Allen (1,221,451 followers).
The ECB website has delivered unrivalled coverage of county cricket, carrying team news before each championship game as well as reams of exclusive interviews from all domestic competitions and details of money-saving promotions to encourage more people than ever to visit their local county club during the summer.