Current logo of ESPNCricinfo
|Type of site||Sports website|
|Launched||March 15, 1993|
|Revenue||US $150 million(2006)|
|Alexa rank||170 (April 2014[update])|
ESPNCricinfo (formerly CricInfo) is a sports news website exclusively for the game of cricket. The site features news, articles, live coverage of cricket matches (including liveblogs and scorecards), and StatsGuru, a database of historical matches and players from the 18th century to the present. It is edited by Sambit Bal.
The site, originally conceived in a pre-World Wide Web form in 1993 by Dr Simon King, was acquired in 2002 by the Wisden Group—publishers of several notable Cricket magazines and the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. As part of an eventual breakup of the Wisden Group, it was sold to ESPN, jointly owned by The Walt Disney Company and Hearst Corporation, in 2007.
Badri Seshadri was the Co-founder and Managing Director of CricInfo who after a long time with CricInfo from 1993, moved to his own regional language-publishing venture.
While a company, CricInfo Ltd, was formed in 1996, CricInfo remained a volunteer-run operation until late 1999 and was not fully staffed until late 2000. The site was reliant on contributions from fans around the world who spent hours compiling electronic scorecards and contributing them to CricInfo's comprehensive archive, as well as keying in live scores from games around the world using CricInfo's scoring software, "dougie". In 2006, Cricinfo's estimated worth was $150 million.
Cricinfo's significant growth in the 1990s made it an attractive site for investors during the peak of the dotcom boom, and in 2000 it received $37 million worth of Satyam Infoway Ltd. shares in exchange for a 25% stake in the company (a valuation of around £100 million). It used around $22m worth of the paper to pay off initial investors but only raised about £6 million by selling the remaining stock. While the site continued to attract more and more users and operated on a very low cost base, its income was not enough to support a peak staff of 130 in nine countries, forcing redundancies.
By late 2002 the company was making a monthly operating profit and was one of very few independent sports sites to avoid collapse (such as Sports.com and Sportal). However, the business was still servicing a large loan. Cricinfo was eventually acquired by the Paul Getty's Wisden Group, the publisher of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack and The Wisden Cricketer, and renamed Wisden Cricinfo. The Wisden brand (and its own wisden.com site) were eventually phased out in favor of Cricinfo for Wisden's online operations. In December 2005, Wisden re-launched its recently discontinued Wisden Asia Cricket magazine as Cricinfo Magazine, a magazine dedicated to coverage of Indian cricket. The magazine published its last issue in July 2007.
In 2007, the Wisden Group began to be broken up and sold to other companies; BSkyB acquired The Wisden Cricketer, while Sony Corporation acquired the Hawk-Eye ball tracking system. In June 2007, ESPN Inc. announced that it had acquired Cricinfo from the Wisden Group. The acquisition was intended to help further expand Cricinfo by combining the site with ESPN's other web properties, including ESPN.com and ESPN Soccernet. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
ESPNcricinfo's popularity was further demonstrated on 24 February 2010, when the site could not handle the heavy traffic experienced after notable Indian player Sachin Tendulkar broke the record for the highest individual score in a One Day International match with 200*.
ESPNcricinfo contains various news, columns, blogs, videos and fantasy sports games. Among its most popular feature are its liveblogs of cricket matches, which includes a bevy of scorecard options, allowing readers to track such aspects of the game as wagon wheels and partnership breakdowns. For each major cricket match, the live scores are accompanied by a Bulletin, which details the turning points of the match and some of the off-field events. The site also used to offer Cricinfo 3D, a feature which utilizes a match's scoring data to generate a 3D animated simulation of a live match.
Regular columns on ESPNcricinfo include "All Today's Yesterdays", an "On this day" column focusing on historical cricket events, and "Quote Unquote", which features notable quotes from cricketers and cricket administrators.
Among its most extensive feature is StatsGuru, a database originally created by Travis Basevi, containing statistics on players, officials, teams, information about cricket boards, details of future tournaments, individual teams, and records.
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