The rapid advance of technology has changed the face of cricket more in the last decade than it has at any point of time since the game was first played. Back in the day, when Test cricket was the only format of the game played at the international level, it was difficult to keep in touch with action and the scores from around the world.
Initially it was only newspapers that brought the news to the cricket world, but this was largely localized. The time it took for these newspapers to reach the reader inevitably meant that there was a delay, but as this was the standard around the world it did not seem like an inconvenience at the time.
Radio as the game changer
The next major advance came when radio got interested in cricket. This when the British Broadcasting Corporation set up its first sports commentary units. The charm of being able to listen to what was happening at the ground, called by experts and masters of the craft of storytelling gave listeners a feel for what was happening at the venue.
The first broadcast of cricket on live television was also done by the British Broadcasting Corporation, back in 1938 when it featured two matches of the Ashes series between England and Australia. From early steps, television became the backbone of the game’s following.
The second tipping point happened in 1976 when the Australia media tycoon Kerry Packer was denied the rights to cricket in the country. He then established a successful rival league to create his own programming, despite the best efforts of authorities to stop.
A third major change happened in the middle 1980s when Jagmohan Dalmiya of the Board of Control for Cricket in India successfully argued that the rights to a home cricket tour belonged to the cricket board organizing the matches, forcing television companies to pay large sums of money to broadcast these images.
Television has become so huge now that the 2019 International Cricket Council World Cup was watched by a whopping 1.6 billion people in more than 100 countries around the world.
Rise of the internet
The Internet is fast supplanting television as the go-to method for fans to get instant scores to matches that are played around the world. While only a few websites initially provided the depth and breadth of live scores to international and domestic cricket, it has now become ubiquitous.
There are one-stop websites dedicated to aggregating cricket scores from around the globe, meaning that fans can get all they need in one place, just like they do at or other similar internet portals. While initially it was desktops, especially at workplaces that were used to get scores on the Internet, the advent of high speed connectivity and smartphones with lean and mean apps has meant that scores are now available in the palm of readers’ hands.
With the advent of every successive type of technology, older forms have been phased out. For example, there is still a niche audience for radio commentary but you cannot take it for granted that every major series or tournament will be broadcast.
Television remains a strong force, simply because it allows friends and families to gather in the comfort of their homes to watch matches together. However, live streaming of matches on web platforms accessed via tablets and smartphones is on the rise and authorities around the world are turning to clever use of social media to increase their reach. This has also opened up the avenue for a much more interactive experience with fans being able to respond to what is happening in a match in real time. The internet experience has also been successful in combining different forms, from text in the form of articles and scores and commentary to pictures of the game, live streaming and commentary. Each day the boundaries are pushed further.
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