After Microsoft’s (s msft) Silverlight multimedia technology was unceremoniously dropped by Major League Baseball’s MLB.com in favor of Adobe Flash, Microsoft is coming back with a different sport involving a ball and a bat. Silverlight will power online streaming of the Indian Premier League Championships, an ultra short-form cricket tourney that debuted last year, to much fanfare. This year’s tournament is being held in South Africa.
This new form of cricket game is called Twenty20 and involves two clubs consisting of 11 players competing against each other. The pitching side gets to throw 20 overs (six pitches constitute an over). As a result, a typical game lasts about two-and-a-half hours. The new series, which pays cricket players hundreds of thousands of dollars for a month’s worth of work, combines colorful uniforms, cheerleaders and jock jams for a TV-friendly showing.
In 2008, the month-long championship was watched by many hundreds of millions on traditional TV. It was a big money-maker for global television broadcasters. In the U.S., the games were broadcast over the Internet by Willow.tv. This year, cricket fans can also watch the games on IPL’s official web site, where nearly 500 hours of cricket will be broadcast live.
The website will enable picture-in-picture controls and customizable player to offer a personalized experience. Iplt20.com will also provide a customized Internet Explorer 8 for IPL fans to stay connect with all the action. Using unique features of the browsers such as Web Slices and Accelerators, fans can speed up video & image search and get instant updates from the website.
Last year IPLT20.com recorded 50.2 million page views, 10 million visits, and 5 million unique visitors, over the course of the 6-week season. This year, the web site is expected to register some 400 million page views, 45 million visits and 10 million unique visitors