Monday, 17 February 2014

Where did December and January go?!

Well. where to start?!  I have been incredibly slack with this blog the last few months but I guess it sums up just how busy cricket season is for those who work in it! I have also been slack in getting the others girls to contribute but many have also been just as busy with Big Bash League, tennis and hockey etc. Arghh the summer of sport!

An amazing summer of cricket so far…..being part of working in cricket in the country so good when the Aussies are on top an also when the team you work with are having some success! And it hasn't finished yet either with the Sheffield Shield still to come, it seems so long ago the last time we saw 4 day cricket.

I'm currently just returning from Perth after being on the road the last 8 days with the Hurricanes, and what a week it has been!  Hobart-Melbourne and then Perth for the BBL|03 Final.

Team huddle at the MCG | Players taking over the pre-match videos | #canetrain | Me nervous before the final!

After the Hurricanes final home game (which now seems an eternity ago), where the boys defeated the Brisbane Heat they made their way into the Top 4, finding form at the right end of the season to make the finals.

It was a great atmosphere at the Heat game, Hobart came out in support knowing a win would mean a semi-finals appearance. Everyone in the Hurricanes team alongside CT staff, especially our venue and events team put in a lot of work for home matches, it is all about the fan experience and with only 4 matches (we had one wash out), we have limited chances to really grab our fans.  It was also our only night match and member appreciation round with every seated Hurricanes member getting a purple shirt which was placed on their seat in the southern stand at Blundstone Arena.  Our membership officer Kelsie recruited the help of members of Cricket Tas staff to assist with this which involved quite a few stair runs to get the ground looking very purple and it looked fantastic.

Anyway the boys got the win which meant a semi final the following week against the undefeated Melbourne Stars at the MCG. I got the gig to Melbourne which was great, always lots of content available on the road and any trip for a final in Australia's sporting capital appreciated!  The build up was relatively busy, we had a lot of support on social media, everyone loving the 'underdogs' and the support of fans sending their pictures in on how they were supporting was also pretty great.  It was also great to walk around the ground and find some Hobart Hurricanes fans, some not even from Tasmania, they just went for us because they liked us! 

What a game. The guys delivered, upsetting the (mind the pun) star-studded Melbourne Stars who went in 8 wins and no losses.  After a few tense moments in the run chase, they did it! What a win giving us our first appearance from the Hurricanes in a BBL Big Final and a spot in the Champions League.

The win was definitely up there in the wins I have been lucky to be part of. When you are putting in so many hours for the campaign and tweeting a game to thousands upon thousands of people you really get emotionally attached to it!  Last year's Bupa Sheffield Shield win and also being part of the ECB County Championship which Durham won were amazing but I have been with the Hurricanes admin team since the start, building the brand and the fan base from scratch so for the guys to get in that final and taste deserved success along with the growth of our brand and digital channels has been amazing for everyone that contributes towards the team.

The response we got on social media after the semi was overwhelming, we were trending on Twitter before the match started and afterwards the Big Bash and Hurricanes dominated trends which was extremely pleasing to see. We also broke records on Facebook in terms of a post getting the most likes we had seen. The support wasn't just coming from Tasmania but all over Australia and the world!

I went down to the rooms to get some footage of the boys, who were celebrating hard and did some interviews and then went back up to the press box, I didn't get away from there until about 2.15am (yes the life of a digi media worker!) after editing videos, writing a match report, getting photo galleries up and of course monitoring our social media and then timing tweets to go out that morning from 8am. 

The next day was a 'day off' for the players, we stayed in Melbourne and waited to see who would win between the Sixers and Scorchers to see which city we would travel to next.  It was a normal working day for me however and I spent it in my hotel room pumping out content and preparing for this final, the day flew by.  After not finding out until 11pm on the Wednesday night, it was then decided we had a 4 hour plane ride to Perth the next morning after the Scorchers won the other semi final against Sydney.

With just the one day before the final, there was no training and the guys just had a pool session at the hotel.  Lucky for me Painey and Ben Dunk took hold of the pre-match video and made it entertaining for our fans as the hype was building back home and my phone didn't stop! Player driven content is great and the boys could have their own television show post cricket careers, the video got quite a few views which was pleasing.

Again we were overwhelmed by the support, businesses, individuals sending us pics of how they were supporting the 'Canes.  What was also impressive was the amount of 'purple parties' around the place.  With Tasmania having no AFL team, no Rugby League side, no A-League etc- all their parachocial energy turned towards the 'local' cricket team and although I wasn't in Hobart, people kept telling me how much everyone was getting into it like it was AFL Grand Final Day which was amazing to hear.

Game Day was again hectic and I spent it hyping the fans up (not that they needed it much!) on social media. The semi final day and the Big Final days are so important on social, we have a 2 month period to really grab our fans and get the best out of fan driven content and really push the team so vital we do as much as a we can when everyone is 'talking about it'.

Alongside trying to do this, I also had to do some of my Cricket Tasmania based work with other things going on around the country including the Imparja Cup and Futures League- cricket season what can you say… MAD!  Days like that I feel like a journo pumping out story after story.

Then there was the Final itself. It didn't go our way after the Scorchers were too good at their home ground however our fans remained upbeat on social media (much to my delight) and proud of the way the team got to the final and made it to Champions League.  I did a couple of post match interviews with our coach Wrighty, who was great to work with all season, wrote the match report, did all my post match bits and pieces and finished up at about 11pm. The early Perth start was great as it meant I wouldn't be working past midnight!  The season ended with us becoming the Tasmanian Facebook page with the most amount of likes, (surpassing the famous MONA, so my boss has told me!) to go past 63,000- not bad for little old Hobart! 

So the end of another Big Bash season, I can't really believe it, it goes so quickly and you literally lose December and January (and now half of Feb!).  Thanks to the players and coaches for again putting up with me 'lurking' with iPhones, cameras, camcorders etc, their assistance with promoting us through twitter and Instagram and the fans who also generated some great content this season!

Focus now turns back to the Shield season, where hopefully the Tigers can do what they did last season and have a great second half of the season and be in contention for back to back titles!  Although the demand digitally isn't as large for Shield it is still there and as the demand for information becomes increasingly strong it will still be a relatively busy time up until April.

Then of course the 'off season' but with the Hurricanes in the champions league and Australia preparing to host the Cricket World Cup it will no doubt be very busy!  

I'm not going back to Durham this season after spending the Aussie winter over there last year and while disappointed as I loved it over there, I am looking forward to getting back into a routine in Hobart and a full season of hockey and training hard for that alongside a couple of half marathon and 10km events this year!

Finally I just wanted to wish fellow media gal Jess Cook all the best as she finishes her innings!  Jess has worked in cricket for 5 years with Cricket Vic and also at the Melbourne Stars as Media and Parnerships Manager and is now off to Sydney to work with the Swans and just wanted to wish her all the best with her new role in the AFL. Hopefully she can provide some insight into her work in the future on this blog! Good Luck Jess!

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