ESPN Pitches Subscription Streaming Service for Cricket World Cup

/ Jan 30, 2015

cricket world cup

ESPN will indeed go over-the-top with its coverage of the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup. The network has announced plans to stream the entire tournament, which will run from February 13 to March 28.

Starting February 3, cricket fans in the US will be able to buy the “ESPN Cricket 2015” package, which will offer all 49 day-long matches for $100. The package also includes on-demand access to full-length and condensed (one-hour) replays of each tilt, as well as ESPN’s pregame and postgame studio shows.

All games will be available in English and Hindi (ESPN calls cricket the “world’s second-most popular sport,” and there are more than a billion Indians on this planet who will shout you down if you try to disagree).

It’s important to note that this is a standalone streaming service built by ESPN. None of these matches will be available on WatchESPN, where the sports network typically airs international and foreign domestic international matches it has the rights to.

Here, you can start to see how ESPN’s future efforts in over-the-top streaming could look like. The network has already indicated an interest in offering a package of NBA games via digital platforms in the future, and with a cricket — a sport that’s niche in the US — it has the ability to test such an offering out.

ESPN will not let go of its lucrative pay-TV business, unless it has to. But there are areas where it could offer live sports via digital platforms that won’t cannibalize its existing money stream. This is one such area.

For those not interested in watching day-long cricket matches on their computers, smartphones, or tablets, ESPN has also reached deals with a few pay-TV distributors — Dish, Mediacom, and Time Warner Cable — to offer World Cup matches to their customers via pay-per-view. Pricing for those are not yet available.

ESPNCricket2015.com goes live on February 3, with apps for smartphones and tablets to launch on February 11.

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