The event was attended by several influencers and executives in the world of cricket and sports media, including (from left to right) John Kosner, Sambit Bal, Darren Beazley, Prasad Malmandi (director of US revenue & operations, ESPNcricinfo), John Skipper (president, ESPN & co-chair, Disney Media Networks), Ramesh Kumar (head of digital media operations, ESPN India) and Russell Wolff. Photos courtesy of ESPN.

ICC World T20 India vs. Pakistan
On Friday, ESPNcricinfo hosted a viewing party for the biggest rivalry in the world of cricket, India vs. Pakistan, in the ICC World Twenty20 Tournament live on ESPN3.  The event – attended by over a hundred people – featured an in-depth panel discussion moderated by ESPN International EVP and managing director Russell Wolff on the growth of cricket in the US, raising awareness, the business opportunities, new audiences and demographics that the sport is capable of reaching, and more.

Bassett Thompson (right), Cricket Commissioner of Public Schools Athletic Association makes a point as Sambit Bal listen.

“Believe it or not, the top ten exclusive events on ESPN3 are all cricket,” said John Kosner, EVP of ESPN Digital & Print Media, in his opening remarks prior to the panel.  “We think today’s India vs. Pakistan match is going to quickly take its place on that top ten.”

As expected, the match on Friday broke through as one of the top exclusive events on ESPN3, attracting a highly engaged audience that spent an average of 74 minutes per viewer.

The panel featured insights from both a macro and micro level — including globally from veteran cricket journalist Sambit Bal (editor-in-chief, ESPNcricinfo), nationally from Darren Beazley (CEO, USA Cricket Association) and locally in New York City from Bassett Thompson (cricket commissioner, Public Schools Athletic Association).

“Cricinfo was born here in the US,” said Bal.  “Its purpose was to serve the ex-patriot fan.  That’s been the biggest driver for Cricinfo over the years, and that’s why USA is the no. 2 destination for Cricinfo consistently.  It was meant for cricket fans who wanted to engage with the sport when they didn’t have TV.  The strength of Cricinfo today is that people engage with Cricinfo even while they’re watching TV.  Cricket is a game that’s meant for the Internet because it’s so episodic, and people stay engaged with the site through the course of the whole day.”