US sports broadcaster ESPN will utilise the 2015 Cricket World Cup to begin a new initiative of selling stand-alone streaming subscriptions for some sports programming, according to the Re/code website.
ESPN acquired the US broadcast rights to the International Cricket Council’s showpiece tournament in 2011. The national team event will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29.
Re/code, citing sources, said ESPN wants to sell US viewers live digital access to the World Cup in what would be its first move outside the traditional pay-television model of bundling together dozens of channels under one subscription.
Russell Wolff, executive vice-president and managing director of ESPN International, is said to be leading the plan to sell online access in the US.
ESPN set a new landmark in April by televising live cricket for the first time on one of its fully-distributed cable networks, ESPN2.
Wolff said at the time that around 30 million people in the US identify themselves as cricket fans.