Tom Gleeson, CEO of Cricinfo On ESPN’s Acquisition Of Cricinfo

I just spoke to Tom Gleeson, CEO of Cricinfo, who says that the idea was for a small private company (Cricinfo) to become a part of a global media player: this will allow Cricinfo access to better technology, expertise and scale. In addition, Cricinfo has recently launched video content, and he sees that benefiting greatly from the acquisition by ESPN. Cricinfo isn’t just a website – they have a magazine and are also on the mobile. Gleeson wouldn’t comment on Cricinfo’s valuation or the divulge further details of the deal.

Russell Wolff, MD of ESPN International is joining the Cricinfo board, which will be reconstituted. Cricinfo, as a business unit, will report to Lynne Frank, MD of ESPN (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Gleeson says that they had been in talks with ESPN for a few months, and in talks “only with ESPN”. How the company fits into ESPN’s plans and what direction Cricinfo will now take – all that is going to be charted out over the next few weeks. Cricinfo had shifted headquarters to Bangalore last year, and it’s not yet been decided whether they will continue to operate from there. It’s important to note that Cricinfo has been acquired by ESPN International, and not ESPN-Star Sports (ESS).

Update: Responding to questions emailed by ContentSutra, an ESPN spokesperson from Singapore says that the Cricinfo acquisition will not affect the ESPN-Star Sports (ESS) joint venture: Cricinfo will complement espnstar.com; Cricinfo Mobile will complement Mobile ESPN. Unwilling to comment on how much capital will be made available to Cricinfo, or the financials of the deal, Lynne Frank, MD ESPN (Europe, Middle East & Africa) says that the site will be run as is.