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M&A: Playing A Smart Game
CricHQ is a digital platform for cricket that allows the cricket community to embrace digital processes and bring them money and time savings in their core operations
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In a conversation with BW Businessworld’s Abhinav Mohaptra, chief marketing officer of CricHQ Jarred Sewell explains what his company is all about, how it will change the way people interact with cricket digitally, how the platform is beneficial for all the cricket governing bodies around the globe, and the reason why CricHQ is developing a cricket-based social media network for all the stakeholders of the game as well as fans across the globe.
What is CricHQ and what is its core objective?
CricHQ is a digital platform for cricket that allows the cricket community to embrace digital processes and bring them money and time savings in their core operations. We have a digital platform that essentially allows administrators to manage competitions as we have built data management systems that allow player registrations, content management and communication tools. We provide cricketing organisations with the ability to effectively manage the core cricketing operations on a digital platform that benefits all the stakeholders and makes cricket better for the stakeholders.
You can be a player, umpire, fan or a parent of a junior who is taking part in a first league match, or the leader of a cricketing organisation; CricHQ has all that makes the game better for all of them. We have 51 out a 106 national governing bodies as clients and in all places where CricHQ is implemented, we see a high engagement across the platform because of the benefits we are giving to the local cricket community.
What is the need-gap that you saw to build this platform?
We saw other industries reacting to the digital revolution, but not cricket. Cricket was stuck in a time where paper was still used; fixture generations were done on spreadsheets or on wall charts, scoring was done in a book and player registrations on a manual or not at all. Because of the nature of cricket, a lot of organisations are under-resourced and struggle to keep up with traditional business practises, so moving to a digital platform will get most out of the game and leverage the big data opportunities within the game of cricket. Cricket was slow to move, but we now see people advancing towards the digital platform.
What is CricHQ’s USP? How does it differentiate itself from players such as CricInfo or CricBuzz?
We have competitors in small parts of what we do. As a whole, we are one of a kind that benefits the whole of cricket. We are the only competition management platform that integrates with a mobile live scoring component and the only one to use high-performance analysis to improve player performance within the game. We do core data management behind the scenes to make sure that cricket organisations have a tool to capture the player and fan database and communicate the database. Hence, we are the only digital platform that does that across the length and breadth of cricket.
Can CricHQ be called a B2B as well as a B2C platform?
The B2B side of things is when we work with the cricket organisations and understand their needs and provide them digital processes to fulfil them. That’s where we talk about competition management, fixture management, live scoring, high-performance recording, and this is what cricket organisations need for their day-to-day management and running cricket within their regions. This leaves us with a huge amount of content and that content is engaging enough to interest a lot of people in the region, which is B2C in nature.
What is CricHQ’s India connect?
We have seen the trend moving in the right direction and have invested heavily in the country because we know that it is the breeding hub of cricket. To have a digital platform that benefits the entire game of cricket, we need to focus on India and the subcontinent area by putting a technology team in the south and a sales and marketing team in the north. This will make our move into India smooth and also help develop a relationship with the 32 governing bodies that represent the game in India.
What challenges did you face while approaching these governing bodies?
Educating them on how the digital platform can help them achieve their core business objective was the challenge. Every cricket organisation wants to better administer their game in the region, and at the moment in India, they do it the way the world was doing it three years ago; which is intensive paper-based manual work with a large number of people in the operations; they do not leverage the big data opportunities that they have.
How will you market this product to the end consumer?
The platform self generates a lot of cricket content; it is the biggest database of cricket anywhere in the world. As we expand into India and get more clients, it will see even more cricketing content. CricHQ is going to move into international and domestic games and start creating and producing cricket content that is similar to some of the major players such as the CricInfo and CricBuzz, which provide editorial media insights into the game. The marketing side of it is more about content, it’s about creating a digital platform that is engaging cricket communities around the world.
Why do you want to get local cricket into the platform?
If we can create a digital platform which is the best of breed in the world and fits high-performance cricketers like Brendon Barrie McCullum and generates content when he plays for a local league called Black Cats in New Zealand by giving insights into his performances, we have a rich platform that has a lot of what the local level cricketers would like to be on.
How do you source or feed content on this platform? What is the technology behind it?
The beauty of the platform is that it creates crowd-sourced and administrative-validated content. The administrator updates his fixtures on the competition management system and creates his match rules and the venue where the matches will be played. He then registers the clubs and allows administrators of other clubs and teams to register players, participants and scorers of the game. When the competition is published, scorers can pull down the fixture information and feed in ball-by-ball data with our mobile scoring platform. This data is later validated by the administrators and published on the platform.