ESPN continues to ramp up cricket coverage


Just a few weeks ago ESPN announced that it would be carrying the biennial 2014 ICC World Twenty20 Cricket Championship across multiple platforms and the network has now added additional coverage to its lineup.

Next up is the India Professional League (IPL) cricket which comes to the sports giant via a deal with Willow TV that gives ESPN exclusive digital rights to the matches in the US, which the network will be making available on ESPN3.

The broadcasts will start on April 16th and run through the end of the season on June 1 and will include pre- and post- game coverage as well as the matches themselves. The pre and post game coverage will also be available online and to mobile platforms via ESPNcricinfo.

The deal will result in ESPN3 showing seven “Game of the Week” matches as well as both IPL semifinal matches and ESPN can show unlimited highlights from those events. It also has limited access to select highlights from all of the other IPL matches played during the season.

While not all of the matches will be made available a number of them will be able to be viewed across the spectrum of platforms that are reached by ESPN3 that includes smartphones and tablets by using the WatchESPN app. It can also be streamed to a television using a variety of platforms using ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.

ESPN published some numbers from its ESPNcricinfo site and I was surprised at how popular it has become. According to the network it is among the five most visited single sport digital sites. It was founded in 1993 and acquired by ESPN in 2007. Its mobile presence is huge with 141 million visits and 2 billion minutes of time spent on the site each month.

Hopefully this move will turn into a ratings success for ESPN and so encourage it and its rivals to both promote more international sports as well as make them available to the digital world where increasingly fans are using mobile devices to follow their favorite teams and sports.

ESPN to live stream Cricket Championships


While the average American may only know of cricket as a game that some say partially evolved into baseball it has a huge worldwide following, particularly in parts of the British Commonwealth where England helped establish the game when it ruled a vast empire.

For fans of the game ESPN will be presenting the biennial 2014 ICC World Twenty20 Cricket Championship as a multiplatform broadcast so that viewers can follow the event on a wide variety of formats including old fashion broadcast television.

The tournament will be covered live from Bangladesh on ESPN3 and will be available to any fan that also subscribes to an affiliate’s video or Internet service so that users can watch online at WatchESPN as well as streamed on televisions through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, Apple TV and Roku. All of the matches will be broadcast live.

The broadcasts will start with coverage of the India vs Pakistan match on March 21st and will end with the championship round on April 6. The championship will also be broadcast on ESPN2. If a viewer misses a match the games will also be available for a short time after their conclusion on ESPN3. Select highlights will be available after the tournament on ESPN TV On Demand. Also included will be the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 semifinals and final will also be delivered live on ESPN3.

The network’s site will also be providing extensive coverage including pre and post game analysis and in-match commentary.

Mobile Apps Lead the Way in Record Cricket Viewership


Last week saw the end of the 15 day ICC Champions Trophy, one of the most prestigious prizes in Cricket and ESPN’s ESPNcricinfo broke multiple viewership records while broadcasting the tournament that featured the top teams from eight nations

The overall online and mobile numbers are great to start with, the tournament generating an average of 41 million page views a day, an increase of 245% compared to the 2009 tournament, while the last day of the event that featured the matchup between India and England drew 87.5 million page views across all devices.

Online access at averaged 2.6 million daily visitors, a 98% increase. The visitors’ averaged a 65% increase in page views with 17.5 million average and that broke down to an average of 61.1 million minutes a day, up 65%.

The mobile section is where the huge growth came, no doubt in a good part driven by the massive growth of smartphone and tablet ownership since the last tournament and enabled ESPNcricinfo to have an app for the event.

The app had an average of 11.3 million page views and 6.4 million minutes, while the mobile Web’s average of 898,000 daily visitors represented a 631% increase. Those daily visitors then logged an average of 12.2 million page views, up 854%.

Not surprising was that India, the world’s second most populous nation led the way in terms of traffic generated with an average of 1.1 million daily visitors, up 220% and they generated 7.2 million page views, up 198% .Mobile traffic in the US was up 970%, up 1,390% in the U.K. and 1,472% in Australia.