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ESPNcricinfo celebrates 20th year milestone


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


BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | June 12, 2013

ESPNcricinfo, the world’s largest single sport website, began its 20th anniversary celebrations yesterday. To commemorate the last two decades, ESPNcricinfo’s digital platforms (mobile and Web) have a compelling line-up that traces the brand’s and cricket’s journey as it unfolded over the last 20 years.

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. 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 analyses 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 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 and 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.

As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, ESPNcricinfo yesterday 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
  • The birth of ball-by-ball commentary

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:

  • 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
  • Andy Zaltzman's love letter to Statsguru
  • My life with Cricinfo, by Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

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 ESPNcricinfoSydney 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 some 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.


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