- Associated Press - Friday, April 1, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - With interest in the cricket World Cup revving up Wednesday, the online video that’s a boon for fans in the United States slowed down.

Shiek Mohamed, webmaster for newyorkcricket.com, was watching the India-Pakistan semifinal when, for the first time during the tournament, he noticed the stream was a bit slow.

“There were just so many people looking at it,” he said.

For a sport not in the mainstream in the U.S., the onward evolution of technology makes all the difference. Fans can watch the World Cup on television if they order a package through a satellite provider.

Or they don’t need a TV at all. And when the event is on the other side of the world, with start times that aren’t exactly in prime time, those newfangled devices come in especially handy.

Fans can watch on their computers, but even that’s seeming a bit old-fashioned compared to the latest developments. They can now keep up with the action on smartphones and tablets. They can also use Internet video systems to follow the stream on their television sets.

Willow TV, which owns the rights to broadcast the World Cup in the U.S., has about 100,000 users with Web and mobile access, said Sagnik Roy, head of marketing and sales.

There are about 70,000 subscribers to the pay-per-view TV, which he believes represents many more people than that number because fans tend to watch in large groups.

Willow executives have been surprised by how much the mobile devices are being used, even when there other viewing options. It seems people will watch on a smartphone in bed in the morning instead of turning on the TV, Roy said.

“They’re not just watching for 15-20 minutes at a time,” he said. “People are watching for 3-4 hours.”

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