Hundreds of emails were received during the broadcast as cricket fans from various time zones of the globe sent in their opinions on the performances of their favorite teams and players. This created a virtual community of cricket-crazy fans who dabbled in friendly banter while some took more personal routes through some name-calling of fans of rival teams. All in all, this free-to-all live audio ball-by-ball broadcast created an air of excitement and fun for everyone who had tuned in.
“We started this because we love the game”, says Gopal Sreenevasan, one of the 4 founders of the website. Although the founders of Hearcricket.com come from Malaysia where the game of cricket is played by a small minority of locals and some expatriates, the idea of a live audio commentary has caught the attention of the global cricket community especially the governing bodies of the game, International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).
“We were thrilled when the ACC asked us to broadcast the ACC Twenty20 in Kuwait last year”, adds Sreenevasan. “We sent a team of 6 broadcasters and 2 technicians there to complete the assignment. The broadcast was a resounding success despite some initial difficulties with connections and wireless facilities. This is how the ICC got wind of us and invited us to become audio broadcast partners of the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur in February. Of course we said yes!!” he adds with animated gesture.
Enthusiasm and passion seems to be the driving motivation for this band of young out-of-the-box thinking entrepreneurs who seem to have created a niche for themselves in the competitive world of sports broadcast. The question, now that the World Cup has concluded and all the fanfare of celebration in India has subsided is, “So, what’s next?”
Pandian Vijayarengam, another co-founder, is quick with an answer, “Well, the party continues! We just won the rights to the Asia Cup 2008 that is going to be played in Lahore and Karachi from June 24th to July 6th. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, UAE and Hong Kong are playing in this exciting tournament. We will be working with ESPN on this. All the superstars of the subcontinent will be displaying their awesome talents. And Hearcricket.com will be broadcasting every ball that is bowled, live from the stadium. It is free for anyone around the world to listen on the internet.”
The future looks bright for Hearcricket.com. Their live audio ball-by-ball broadcast is now also available on the mobile phone. “We are already getting requests from various mobile service providers from around Asia asking us to give them exclusive streaming that is picked up by their subscribers only. We are happy to oblige. This is where we have always wanted our broadcast to be, at the palm of the listener. We know that people are more apt to listen to broadcast on the mobile phone rather than watch a video stream. Audio broadcast allows the listener to continue doing other activities while keeping tab of the performance of his or her favorite team. It is the same with the internet. Our listeners minimize their screen and continue doing their work while the broadcast is going on in the background. They still feel like they are being part of the game while not neglecting their daily work.”
By the sound of it (pun intended), Hearcricket.com is here to stay!