ESPN Acquires Cricinfo from the Wisden Group

2007-06-11 15:58 1308

ESPN Expands its Global On-Line Business Through the Acquisition of Cricinfo - the World's Largest Cricket Website

LONDON, June 11 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- ESPN and The Wisden Group today announced that they had agreed to terms for ESPN's acquisition of Cricinfo, the world's leading cricket website.

"Growing our business in the on-line world is vital for us to serve sports fans," said Russell Wolff, managing director of ESPN International. "Cricinfo is a tremendous property with a great fan base and it will be a strong addition to ESPN."

Lynne Frank, managing director of ESPN, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: "Cricket has a huge worldwide following and Cricinfo has created a great product for cricket fans everywhere. The acquisition complements our growing online business and underlines the fact that ESPN is committed to serving a diverse fan base. We are delighted that Cricinfo has joined the ESPN family."

The acquisition of Cricinfo enhances ESPN's on-line portfolio, which includes -- the U.S.'s premier online sports destination; -- the number one Spanish-language sports website among Spanish-preferred fans in the U.S. and -- the world's leading English-language football website.

Cricket lends itself perfectly to online coverage: the length of matches and the statistics-rich nature of the game combine to drive high global usage and build loyalty.

Wisden Group director Mark Getty, said: "Cricinfo has developed into a significant cricket brand in its own right, combining huge global popularity with strong commercial success. ESPN is a major sports broadcaster and international rights holder and will provide the perfect environment for Cricinfo to further realise its enormous potential. The Wisden Group will continue to focus on its Hawk-Eye sports technology business in cricket, tennis and a growing range of other sports."

And Tom Gleeson, Managing Director of Cricinfo, added, "We have had a strong working relationship with ESPN for a number of years and we know how successful they are in providing innovative online sports content. We look forward to working with the ESPN team and drawing on its expertise in sports marketing and digital media."

ESPN's digital media initiatives combine to deliver an industry-leading combination of live and on-demand sports events; up-to-the-minute sports news and information; scores, statistics and analysis; extensive on-demand and downloadable video and audio programming; fantasy sports, and video games across Web, mobile and other non-linear platforms.

ESPN Digital media properties are leading sports destinations: online- (; mobile (wireless Web sports site; radio (the most listened-to online sports radio destination; the leading English-language Soccer news and information site (; leading fantasy games that are played by millions of fans each year; one of the most successful premium content services on the Web (ESPN Insider); the most downloaded sports content on the iTunes Store, and a one-of-a-kind in-game content integration platform appearing in many of the most popular sports video games.

About ESPN

ESPN, Inc. is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of six U.S. television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU), ESPN and ESPN2 HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio,, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360 (Broadband), Mobile ESPN, ESPN on Demand, ESPN Interactive and ESPN PPV. Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

About Cricinfo

Cricinfo is the world's leading cricket website, ranked number one in all of its major markets. The site was founded in 1993, and its continuing success is built on the combination of live ball-by-ball coverage of all Test and one-day international matches, news and features written by some of the world's best cricket writers, and in-depth statistics on every one of the 3,000 international and 45,000 first class cricketers to have played the game.

Cricinfo now reaches more than seven million users every month. The site's reach, authority and brand recognition is unrivalled in the online cricket world. And Cricinfo now reaches beyond the Internet -- so that fans can get Cricinfo content on mobile applications and on some of the world's leading internet portals.

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified worldwide media and entertainment enterprise with four main business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 company, had annual revenues of nearly $34 billion in its most recent fiscal year, and a market capitalization of approximately $71 billion as of May 24, 2007.

Cricinfo Screengrabs

Click on the following links for Cricinfo screengrabs. (To get high resolution version, click on "All sizes" above the picture then follow the instructions):

Source: ESPN; The Wisden Group