How Royal Challengers Bangalore got 1 million app downloads without spending on paid media?

by ACN Editor

With more than 700 Mn Viewers in 2018, IPL was the single biggest content property that everyone got glued on to. Star network, who was the broadcasting partner saw an increase of 34% viewership across all the channels and reported a whopping 54 Mn impressions. 

Apart from the social media channels of all the 8 IPL teams, a zillion other content channels too went full steam in sharing anything and everything about the teams and the star players from each team. 

But what about off-season? IPL teams manage to engage the fans for only 3 months a year, with only one month with active IPL content. Each IPL team sees an avg. drop 60-90% in engagement after the IPL season ends. 

At Royal Challengers Bangalore, we wanted to engage our audiences throughout the year by providing them a plethora of content that would provide exclusivity and variety. Then came the next challenge. In order to engage the fans during off season, we couldn’t have expected them to run between our different social media channels and wanted to make the user experience simpler and better. 

Hence, keeping the above two objectives in mind we felt that launching a mobile app would be the best bet. This thought gave rise to the RCB Official app, which was launched in the first week of March 2019.

A single mobile ecosystem for the fans to interact & transact- 1st time ever a sports cum social technology based platform in India which allows fans to be a part of micro-community and connect with other fans across In"


The crux of creating an app was to make sure that there’s no dearth of exclusive content for those who are looking for it. To make that happen, we on-boarded all our players, coaches onto the app where each one created their own profiles on the app and started posting content ranging from their daily routine, their practice sessions, travelling to other cities to play other teams and everything in between.

Apart from the players, we needed multiple touch points with which the fans could engage with and contribute. We identified few lifestyle buckets which are popular amongst the youth culture and primarily is our TG

- Fitness
- Pet love
- Music

Hence the following properties took shape:

- RCB Bold: For those who love fitness

- RCB Loves Furry: For all the pet parents, and pet lovers

- RCB Underground: For the followers of Underground music and art

- RCB Diva: To give a platform for all the female fans of team RCB to offer their opinions

- RCB 12th Man: A property driven by the fans and for the fans to voice their opinions on the games, players, strategies etc.

- RCB Green: An eco-friendly initiative to drive home the point to do our bit in saving our environment, keeping it green etc. 

We tied up with influencers, who were experts in these popular domains to create content, drive conversations and engage with the fans within the platform. These experts ranged from a famous Bangalore based rapper, to cricket experts, sports journalists, pet hygiene & grooming experts.


One of the biggest challenges we faced initially was how to make sure that people visit each section on the app. To overcome this, we used the social media might of 15Mn followers of RCB across all the social channels. 

With cricket being a content driven category, we upped the ante this year by creating more video content around player interviews, pre-match and post-match analysis with the players/coaching staff, fan reviews, Facebook LIVEs and Instagram LIVEs of team practice sessions or travel etc. 

We targeted fans through the various properties that we created.

RCB Loves Furry engaged with the pet lovers and pet parents by giving them tips on pet grooming, diet. We also made the app a platform to get a chance to watch the RCB home games along with their pets. A pioneering activity that was never done before in India. 

Through RCB Bold, we launched a 52 week RCB bold fitness program in partnership with a popular Bangalore based fitness centre. Fans not only got to workout on their functional fitness but also got an insight into the workout regime of the RCB players, the kind of diet they follow and their journeys in recovering from the injuries.

RCB Diva gave a voice to all the female fans that followed us from across the country and the world. Various forums were created for them to discuss about the team, players and their performances. The main aim behind creating this property was to address the issue that though the female fans’ contribution towards viewership


The app was a huge hit with the fans. And we have the numbers to prove that. Within the first month of their launch, we had close to about a 1Mn downloads with an average engagement time of 8 mins. 

Current retention rate being 37% which is higher than industry best average of 30% for any gaming category related app. Engagement rate for cricket and influencer related posts is at 40% which too is a huge number considering that Facebook’s algorithm allows content to reach only 1% of audience. 

And all these activities were lead organically without a single rupee being spent for media promotions.

Disclaimer: This case study & the corresponding data was submitted by Madras Global for CMS Asia awards and has not been edited by our editors.