While the sport of cricket may be foreign to most cable
operators, it serves as a significant pay-per-view revenue source for at least one
mid-Atlantic cable system.
Media General Cable, of Fairfax, Va., is hoping to generate
upward of $40,000 from its exclusive distribution of the monthlong Cricket World Cup
tournament, running from mid-May through June 20.
The system is the only cable operator offering the 42-match
tournament, Media General PPV manager Ted Hodgins said. In fact, Media General will also
have a leg up on its fiercest competitors: Neither DirecTV Inc. nor U.S. Satellite
Broadcasting will offer the matches.
One reason why many distributors have passed on the
tournament could be the event's difficult schedule. The games -- which can run as
long as nine hours -- begin at 4:45 a.m. each day, with two games often occurring at the
But with two stand-alone event channels, Hodgins feels the
system can handle the rigorous schedule.
"We're not really pre-empting any event
programming during that time, so it won't cause us any major problems," he said.
"The movie revenue we would generate during that time can't make up the
Indeed, cricket events typically represent about 2 percent
to 3 percent of the system's overall revenue, Hodgins said.
With the system serving a widely diverse subscriber base --
including many international diplomats, due to its close proximity to Washington, D.C. --
cricket has become a major attraction for its subscribers.
The system already has close to 50 orders for its full
tournament package, which retails for $299.95. It also offers several other packages,
including a $199.95 package for the final 12 games or a $129.95 deal for the semifinal and
Media General will also sell games on an individual basis,
with prices increasing throughout the tournament rounds. Preliminary matches will retail
for $29.95, while the semifinals and final matches will cost $44.95 and $49.95,