More and more TV networks are giving online subscription services a shot, and ESPN is about to try out one of the more interesting approaches to date: it's selling a package specifically for one sporting event, letting viewers in the US pay $99.99 for access to its coverage of the entire Cricket World Cup. The package includes access to live broadcasts and replays of all 49 World Cup matches, in addition to condensed replays of the game's long events and streams of ESPN's show Match Point. The package is being sold at ESPNcricket2015.com, which says that its streams will be viewable on phones, tablets, computers, and Roku devices.
This isn't ESPN's first experience with internet TV, but this does appear to be the first time that it's selling directly to consumers. Even if it's for an event that's niche within the US, it's an important step in a direction that many would like to see ESPN go: lack of access to sports coverage is a reason many people still can't cancel cable in favor of online TV, but offerings like what ESPN is testing out show what the beautiful, à la carte market of the future could look like. For ESPN, this model isn't even that strange. It's also offering complete Cricket World Cup coverage through pay-per-view on Time Warner Cable, DISH, and Mediacom — going online is just an easy way to cut out the middleman.