ESPNcricinfo, the world’s largest single sport website, kick-starts its 20th anniversary celebrations today. To commemorate the last two decades, ESPNcricinfo’s digital platforms – that include the website and mobile – have a compelling line up that traces the brand’s journey alongside the journey of cricket as it has unfolded over the last 20 years.
• Two decades of connecting fans with cricket through technology and award-winning journalism
• World’s leading digital cricket brand and India’s digital sports leader kick-starts multi-faceted content initiative
• Pioneering internet site now paving way forward online, on mobile and via social media
Founded in 1993, the original website Cricinfo was one of the earliest examples of a community-driven online enterprise at a time when websites were unheard of. Led by Dr. Simon King and a group of like-minded volunteers, it began with a simple objective: to deliver cricket scores and updates to an audience of passionate fans that yearned for them. It was conceptualised at a time when the internet was unheard of, and its popularity grew exponentially as it pioneered the path-breaking technology behind live scoring of matches and ball-by-ball commentary, while simultaneously developing one of the most credible and comprehensive sports journalism platforms to deliver award-winning news, commentary and analysis from many of the world’s top cricket writers, reporters and editors. Today, ESPNcricinfo is not merely the world’s most-preferred destination for cricket’s news and information, but also the game’s leading global voice.
“While Cricinfo was born out of incredible enthusiasm and passion for the sport of cricket, it is sustained by innovation. At the heart of our success is a keen understanding of the cricket fan, an intuitive approach to changing trends in the engagement with content on digital media platforms, and the commitment to be at the forefront of technology and journalism. As we look forward, we will remain grounded in the values that have held us in good stead all these years, while simultaneously playing to our strength – which is to celebrate our collective love for cricket and bring fans the world over even closer to this amazing game.” said Ramesh Kumar, Head of ESPNcricinfo and ESPN Digital Media
At the dawn of the internet revolution, Cricinfo was established by a group of cricket enthusiasts who began updating a, now seemingly-primitive, level of cricket information through Usenet. The portal proved to be way ahead of its time by publishing quality discussions and compelling pieces of analysis and commentary on cricket. The website continued to evolve, including adding and maintaining an exhaustive information and statistics database. At the time, the creators used tools similar to blogs or Twitter to gather and distribute scores online, long before the advent of social media. Soon it became the one-stop-shop for all things cricket.
Sambit Bal, Editor-in-chief, ESPNcricinfo said, “Over the years, we have earned the reputation of being the most comprehensive, trusted and incisive voice on the game of cricket. We have stayed absolutely committed to the founding spirit of Cricinfo which was to cover as much cricket as possible, and we have set ourselves the highest of journalistic standards and editorial integrity. We’re also very excited about the next two decades in front of us, the emergence of mobile and social media that allow us to engage with cricket fans in so many new ways and locations as well as the continued and growing passion for cricket that we see from fans around the world.”
Going forward, ESPNcricinfo’s focus will be to continue delivering the best experience to fans, wherever they are and on whatever digital devices they use, by making available the depth and range of content from the website and ensuring the best user experience on every device.
To kick-start the 20th anniversary celebrations, ESPNcricinfo has today launched a special section that features a range of content, tracing the evolution of the sport and of ESPNcricinfo over the last two decades. A host of video content will also feature on the special section, including documentary interviews and stories, as well as photo galleries and other illustrations of the journey that both cricket and ESPNcricinfo have taken in the past two decades.
At launch, the 20th Anniversary section will feature:
• A special column from Editor Sambit Bal discussing the landmark, the sites unique history and its mission
• A to Z of ESPNcricinfo – A glossary about ESPNcricinfo, its history and features
• Cricinfo/ESPNcricinfo Timeline: 1993 – 2013
• Andy Zaltzman’s love letter to Statsguru
• My life with Cricinfo, by Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
In the weeks ahead, the site and section will feature at least 20 pieces examining aspects of the site’s two decade history and 20 of the very best stories and features from its unmatched archive. The section will feature two stories a week – one from the archive and one new 20th Anniversary feature. Among the stories planned are:
• The birth of ball-by-ball commentary
• ESPNcricinfo in numbers
• A cricketer’s perspective of the site — by Iain O’Brien
• Cricket journalism circa 1993 – by Sharda Ugra
• ESPNcricinfo as a media phenomenon — by Rob Steen
The section will also feature special video interviews and features including series like Cricketers on Cricinfo – interviews with players such as Mahela Jayawardene, John Wright and others; A Day in the Life of ESPNcricinfo – Sydney to Seattle via Bangalore, Birmingham, London; and other special documentary style interviews and features including interviews with some of the sites early developers and founders.
Over the coming months, ESPNcricinfo will also host a series of special cricket roundtable summits in key cricketing nations, where some of the top voices in the industry will join together and discuss some of the most significant topics in the sport today and what the next 20 years of cricket may bring. Additionally, there will be region-specific activities in several top cricketing markets.
To discover and share exclusive ESPNcricinfo 20 years content and see today’s introduction to the 20th anniversary initiative and celebration by Bal, go to www.espncricinfo.com/20.
With 20 years of heritage, ESPNcricinfo is the world’s leading digital cricket brand and is among the top five most-visited single-sport digital brands in the world. Founded in 1993 and part of ESPN’s leading global collection of sites since 2007, ESPNcricinfo is committed to delivering an independent voice for comprehensive coverage of the sport and is available to cricket fans online and across mobile platforms.
Globally, ESPNcricinfo leads its top competitors in average minute audience, unique visitors, page views, average minutes per visitor, and total visits. Despite that leading position, it continues to grow. Across online, mobile and tablet devices (Web and apps) fans log more than 141 million visits and nearly 2 billion minutes of time spent each month with ESPNcricinfo globally and log millions of video views.
In the UK, ESPNcricinfo is the leading cricket across computers and mobile devices, with fans logging an average of more than 28 million minutes per month with the brand – four times the amount of time fans spend with BBC Sport Cricket.* From August 2012 through May 2013, UK fans logged an average of 2.8 million visits per month to ESPNcricinfo from mobile devices alone, a 22 percent increase over the same period a year prior.**
In India, ESPNcricinfo is the #1 digital sports destination and the #1 cricket brand, leading all competitors in both unique audience, total time spent, visits, page views and average minutes per visitor. It has an average minute audience that is nearly double its nearest competitor – meaning that during any average minute of a month, nearly twice as many fans are on ESPNcricinfo as any other sports destination.
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