Cricket fans can watch every Indian Premier League match live online in the United States via ESPN for the first time in the 2015 season — the eighth season for the popular Twenty20 pro cricket competition — as ESPN will stream all 60 Pepsi IPL matches through its ESPN Cricket service for a single subscription fee.
In February, ESPN introduced its new online ESPN Cricket service, which streamed every match of the recently completed ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which was won by Australia who defeated New Zealand in the final March 29.
ESPN Cricket charged a flat fee of $99.99 for the entire World Cup, though with group stage play now concluded, the price has been lowered to $39.99 for the seven remaining knockout round matches.
The service was apparently successful enough that ESPN will continue its live online subscription cricket service with the Indian Premier League, a competition founded in 2008 that has been hailed for revolutionizing cricket in India, where the sport was already approached with religious fervor anyway.
"We're pleased with the success so far of our Cricket World Cup coverage on ESPN Cricket 2015 and through our partners' pay per view platforms, and we're excited to extend a unique window on the cricket calendar with coverage of the Pepsi IPL," said ESPN Exec Russell Wolff.
"ESPN Cricket 2015 has been a great complement to our existing networks and the value of the multichannel environment, and has allowed us to explore new ways to reach tech-savvy consumers and develop new expertise in the digital space."Subscribers to the full, $99.99 ESPN Cricket World Cup package can purchase the Indian Premier League cricket package for a slightly discounted price of $69.99. Others pay the full fee of $79.99. Go to this link for more information.
The IPL plays Twenty20 format cricket, a fast-paced version of the venerable game created in 2002 with the intention of bringing cricket to a broader, younger audience. Because Twenty20 cricket matches are limited to 20 overs — that is, 120 balls bowled — per side, each game is completed within roughly three hours — about the same as a typical American baseball or football game.
Because of the limited opportunities to score runs, Twenty20 cricket also features a more aggressive style of batting, leading to an increase in fast-paced action.
The Indian Premier League season opens on April 8 at 10:30 a.m., U.S. East Coast time, as the defending champs, the Kolkata Knight Riders, battle the Mumbai Indians at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, a match that also marks the debut of the IPL live online in the U.S. on ESPN Cricket.
[Image: Tom Shaw/Getty Images]
Clarification: This article originally conveyed the mistaken impression that IPL matches would be streamed to U.S. viewers for the first time in 2015. The wording has been updated to make clear that ESPN will be streaming the IPL for the first time.