The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2009 has just kicked off and the cricket websites in India are gearing up for the excitement online. With exclusive updates, videos, score cards and games, cricket sites are making sure that cricket enthusiasts who do not have access to television, usually office-goers, are hooked.
Cricinfo.com, a part of the ESPN group, has launched a section called Page 2 (www.cricinfo.com/page2), which will feature off-the-field content that will appeal to a broader range of users. While the home page of the site will continue reporting on the hard stats of the game, Page 2 will have cartoons, trivia, games and other entertaining content.
Kumar adds that the average Cricinfo audience comprises mature men who are in senior and middle management positions. With Page 2, the site wants to attract a younger audience and women, too.
Though all teams have their own websites, they usually tie up with cricket portals to increase their web presence.
The site has also partnered with network TV channels such as IBN7 and CNN-IBN for content, including interviews and live coverage from South Africa.
Ranabir Majumdar, editor, Cricketnext, says, "We have IPL Specials which will include blogs, interviews and other content from reporters in the field."
The IPL started on April 18, so how well have these sites done on traffic?
Kumar of Cricinfo says, "We received 1,55,000 unique users from India on Friday on Page 2 alone, despite the weekend matches." He expects to receive 1.25-1.5 million unique users from India per day during the IPL. In fact, the site plans to convert Page 2 into a regular micro site for all Twenty20 tournaments.
Majumdar of Cricketnext says that last year, the site received 46 million page views during IPL, of which 3.9 million were unique users. He's expecting a higher number, somewhere around 60 million, this year as there are many double (two in a day) matches this time.
"As the matches are not happening in India, we need to keep the viewers' interest alive," he says.