Cricinfo

Cricinfo

Cricinfo is the largest cricket-related website and one of the largest websites in the world with more than 20 million users. It includes news and articles, live scorecards, and a comprehensive and queriable database of historical matches and players from the 18th century to the present. On June 11 2007, ESPN announced that it had bought Cricinfo from Wisden group.

History

Conception

Cricinfo (originally CricInfo) was launched in 1993 by Dr. Simon King, a British researcher at the University of Minnesota and Dr Badri Seshadri It grew thanks to the help of students and researchers at universities around the world. It initially operated as a volunteer-based collective, and started life as a simple IRC bot. It was soon made available via [(protocol)|Gopher] as well, and with the advent of the Mosaic web browser in April 1993 became one of the earliest content web sites on the Internet.

While a company, CricInfo Ltd, was formed in 1996, CricInfo remained essentially a volunteer run operation until late 1999 and was not fully staffed until late 2000. The site was entirely reliant on contributions from avid fans around the world who spent many 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". CricInfo scored a number of significant firsts including the first streamed cricket matches ("VAT" audio over SUNSPARC systems in 1993 , video over the web in 1997 with a little help from Mick Jagger) and pioneered distributed internet based working (many of the volunteers never met or spoke to one another despite ten years of online cooperation), open online peer review and the use of chat networks at work.

Growth and Success

Cricinfo's extraordinary 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 Computer Services Ltd. shares in exchange for a 25 per cent stake in the company (a valuation of around £100 million). It used around $22m worth of the paper to pay off initial investors, spent extravagantly 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. A merger with the better capitalised The John Wisden Group (then owned by Sir Paul Getty) was the logical next step and the company was renamed Wisden Cricinfo. Soon after, the existing wisden.com website was closed and gradually the Wisden brand was also removed from the site. In ten years Cricinfo had effectively established primacy (at least in the electronic sphere) over Wisden, one of the oldest brands in sports publishing.

In June 2007, ESPN Networks announced that they had acquired Cricinfo from Wisden Group, though the brand name and identity will still remain in use.

Current

Cricinfo has continued to grow, aided by a sound financial base, and now has offices in London, Bangalore and Australia, as well as editorial presences in all major Test-playing countries. In 2006 they consolidated their India offices into one single premises, shifting from Mumbai and Chennai to Bangalore.

Features

Cricinfo contains various news, columns, and blogs.

Live Scorecards

Arguably the website's most endearing attraction, Cricinfo offers ball-by-ball coverage of all major cricket matches. This is accompanied by 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 website is also experimenting with Cricinfo 3D, which creates animations to simulate live matches.

News

Cricinfo editors regularly provide news updates, detailing the fitness of players, locker room gossip, etc. News articles are usually accompanied by editorials by the website staff.

Columns

Columns are written by Cricinfo editors and are published on a weekly basis. The columns include:

  • Ask Steven- posted weekly, Steven Lynch answers readers' questions and queries about cricketers
  • The Numbers Game- S. Rajesh compares various cricketers' statistics and analyzes their game in certain situations
  • Rewind to- Martin Williamson takes a trip down memory lane, discussing important events in the development of cricket
  • The Week That Was- Cricinfo editors take turns reviewing the cricketing news and events of that week
  • The List- similar to The Numbers Game, Travis Basevi and George Binoy analyze specific aspects of cricket through the medium of lists
  • Cricinfo XI- Cricinfo editors list eleven occurrences or players that have some special similarity

Blogs

In the Cricinfo blogs section, cricket writers unaffiliated with the website discuss issues within a certain scope. Notable blogs include:

Daily Features

Cricinfo maintains two daily features. These are:

  • All Today's Yesterdays- readers can find out about cricketing events that took place on that date in history
  • Quote Unquote- Cricinfo editors compile humorous and controversial quotes from cricketers and cricket administrators

Statsguru and Records

The Statsguru system, created by editor Travis Basevi, allows readers to quickly and easily access all manner of cricketing statistics. This has allowed Cricinfo to maintain their extremely extensive Records section, a popular attraction among readers. In addition to the Records section, Cricinfo offers web pages for individual players, officials, and grounds that track their achievements and provide short summaries of their careers. Web pages are also created for every tour and country.

Games

Cricinfo maintains a couple of cricket games, notably Slogout, Cricinfo Fantasy Cricket, and the Cricinfo Quiz.

Downloads and Feeds

Starting in 2008, the Cricinfo website installed two new options for readers to receive cricketing news. One can subscribe to the newsletter via an email address or download the Cricinfo toolbar, which allows the user to view the Cricinfo homepage, search the site, go to a countries cricinfo page, follow live scores, view current and future fixtures, view current and breaking news, view stats, go to cricinfo games, go to audio pages, view blogs and finally toolbar options. Cricinfo also has a desktop alert system and a wide variety of RSS feeds.

Cricinfo Magazine

In 2006, the Cricinfo magazine was established, targeted mainly at Asian cricket fans in India. However, the magazine struggled to gain sufficient readership and ceased publication in 2008.

See also

References

External links

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