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ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023: the technology offering of the world’s ‘second most popular’ sport

We know that football is the most watched sport in the world, with about 4.0 billion fans, but few consider that the second most watched sport in terms of audience size is cricket. It is the second most watched sport in the world, with about 2.6 billion fans. It is mainly followed in India, where cricket is the national sport, with growing popularity in many Asian countries.

The 13th edition of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, which began on 5 October and is scheduled to conclude on 19 November 2023, is currently taking place in India. England is the defending champion, having won the 2019 edition by defeating New Zealand in the final at Lord’s, London. Ten national teams are participating. India qualified as the host country; Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa qualified via the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, with the Netherlands and Sri Lanka securing the last two spots via the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe in June and July 2023, while the West Indies failed to qualify for the first time in their history. For the first time, India is the exclusive host country and not the co-organiser, as was the case in the 1987, 1996 and 2011 editions. The tournament will take place in ten different stadiums in ten cities across India, with the final scheduled to take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. A 132,000-seat facility that is the largest stadium in the world, surpassing the Melbourne Cricket Ground by more than 30,000.

Growing popularity is attracting investment and the development of new technologies to serve the spectacle and experience of spectators, not only present at live matches, but also for those following matches remotely. Investment and technology are revolutionising the cricket fan experience, just as with football, sports broadcasting is a crucial element in the economic engine that powers the entire cricket sports ecosystem. Split screens, multiple angles, integration of commerce into the broadcast and even vertical video for your mobile phone. The goal is always the same: to make the cricket experience better and more engaging. Here are the main innovations introduced by broadcasters at the ICC World Cup.

The ICC (International Cricket Council) has announced a momentous news: the 2023 Men’s Cricket World Cup will also be broadcast in a vertical video format, a first for the cricket world. This decision entails significant changes in several respects. For fans, this innovation will enhance the viewing experience on mobile devices, allowing easy access and intuitive consumption of content on the go. The vertical feed will include split screens, providing context to the action on the pitch and bringing fans closer to the game. From a production perspective, this will require specific production for the vertical format.
Specially designed cameras will be used for this purpose, flanked by global coverage cameras for the split screens. In addition, customised graphics for the matches and special enhancements adapted to the portrait format will be created. But that’s not all: traditional tools such as ball tracking, player tracking and field mapping will be adapted to the vertical format.

The goal of the ICC TV team is to engage fans to the fullest in the action, making the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 an immersive and accessible experience like never before. Cricket has never been seen in this way before.

Kayo Sports
Kayo Sports is a leading sports streaming platform based in Australia. Kayo is cricket’s growth broadcast platform and offers unprecedented coverage of the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023. It offers a number of innovative features, including live streaming and on-demand viewing of all 48 World Cup matches in high definition, without commercial interruptions during play. In addition, Kayo Mini allows short match summaries and offers a range of options for fans, including ‘No Spoilers,’ ‘SplitView,’ and ‘KeyMoments’ (note that some features may depend on the device used). Kayo also offers special cricket programmes that include classic matches, documentaries, and a dedicated cricket programme. It allows access to all FOX CRICKET content, including “Cricket 360,” the acclaimed “Cricket
Legends” and “The Cricket Tragic.” And for cricket fans, Kayo’s state-of-the-art bowling simulator, making its Australian debut, offers a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to engage with simulated versions of cricket legends. All this and more, direct from Australia: Kayo Sports is taking the fan experience to a new level.

Star Sports Network
Star Sports Network, the official broadcaster of the TATA IPL 2023, has unveiled an innovative set of features. The IPL is the Indian Super Cricket League which, according to merchant bank valuations, is worth US$ 15.4 billion, second only to the NFL. With the introduction of Dolby ATMOS audio, television viewers will have the impression of being in a movie theatre, while interactive highlights and statistics will keep the viewer constantly informed. Innovations such as Holobox, an
interactive experience to allow fans to understand key moments of the game, Traxis, to increase information about the game in progress and real-time polls make IPL immersive, interactive and immersive. Star Sports and Airtel 5G Plus have introduced “Airtel 5G Plus Ultimate Fan,” an innovative initiative that connects cricket fans with legends of the game in the Star Sports studio during live cricket broadcasts.
This unprecedented partnership transcends physical boundaries, allowing fans to participate in real time, interacting with virtual avatars realistically represented based on their expressions and gestures.
This cutting-edge collaboration is driven by Airtel’s super-fast 5G Plus technology, opening a new era in immersive sports viewing on television in India.

Jio Cinema
During the 16th edition of the Indian Premier League, JioCinema, the Indian over-the-top media streaming service owned by Viacom18, entered the game, bringing fans a host of innovations. With JioCinema, you can enjoy every moment in stunning 4K (UltraHD) resolution, a strategy that paid off during the 2022 FIFA World Cup,
when fans could switch between different camera angles using the Multicam feature. The app is equipped with tools that allow you to keep an eye on scores and heat maps of the pitch directly on your mobile device.In addition, fans can select camera angles, commentary language, real-time statistics in the app, fan interactions and quizzes, among other features.The ‘hype mode’ allows fans to rewind the action during live
matches, view all necessary match statistics or the tournament’s points table, replay the best actions and adjust the playback speed.The platform also offers matches in 12 different languages, ensuring a truly immersive experience. And with a change of commentary language, not only the audio changes, but also the statistics and graphics, offering a dynamic IPL experience.

Batcam Drive Rover Camera
There are also interesting developments in camera technology with the Batcam Drive, a revolutionary creation from Batcam, a British company specialising in unmanned aerial vehicles. With its remarkable two-way motion and high-quality camera and incredible 10x zoom lens, the Batcam Drive offers an exciting view of live action and provides unprecedented views of the cricket pitch.All of which introduces the concept of immersiveness for those watching the game.

As technology continues to evolve, content delivery offers us revolutionary developments that will take us even deeper into the heart of the game and closer to our on-screen sporting heroes. Football is fortunate, it can learn, copy and improve on the experience of sports that, thanks to investment, are pursuing the path of innovation and analysis of the dynamics of different audiences.

Author: Ivan Ortenzi.