Saturday, March 10, 2007

World Cup ‘Fever’

It's a strange feeling. Just when you resign yourself to the truth that the Americans couldn't (and would never) care less about football (soccer), you have another sporting event that most of them will never ever hear of in their lifetimes. Quite understandable, their hatred for Britishness. Baseball and American football were invented out of a need to play sports that were not British, during the freedom movement. While soccer keeps flitting, albeit briefly, in and out of the American consciousness - once in four years like the Olympics - due to the sizeable Hispanic influence, cricket would mean no more than either the insect or this. So for desis living in the American heartland, things could feel strange and lonely during the World Cup.

I feel sorry for those desis who had come to the US about 10 years ago. Must have been some sacrifice, missing the biggest sporting event of the homeland. Those were the days of the dial-up and the odd broadband service, when cable companies might have charged a graduate student's yearly salary for a World Cup package. Thanks to hi-speed internet, as I have said earlier in connection with Joost and online TV shows, live sporting events are cheap (and *whisper*... even free!). I have been doing some savage searching on the net, looking for decent world cup packages. For those of you looking for legal options, Dish network has the rights in the Americas and offers it for a measly sum of $199!

But I am not here to talk about the TV option. There are a whole lot of sites that have good paid coverage which are much cheaper. cric20 promises the entire package for $100 and if you use Google Checkout by March 10th to buy it, you can get it for $70. They have another package where you get the matches of a particular team plus semis plus final for $60 and individual games for $2. But if you are bent upon not spending a penny, then there is the Sopcast option, which is the P2P software for streaming television. Neither legal nor illegal, it is in the gray zone where much of modern internet technology falls. Sopcast which can be downloaded from here, has a whole bunch of preloaded channels that can be selected and watched. But it is highly unlikely there will be a cricket channel. So there lies the challenge. Of looking for links that can be used with the software. So my random surfing brought me to It has a lot of Google ads among others cluttering up the site, but the focal point is the small chat box in the middle of the page where people give out links to matches that can be used either with Sopcast or with IE7. Highly unreliable, but that is the price for free streams. If people get any other sites with free streams, let me know. I'll be grateful.

Back to the cricket, it is good in a way that I am not in the middle of the media madness that descends in India during the world cup. The frenzy that gets drummed up makes one feel that this is THE world cup for India. I have a rather more detached view this time round. Funnily, I am more concerned about Manchester United lasting the distance (and regaining the EPL title) with all their sudden spurt of injuries than with the Indian team that just cantered to a win against WI the other day. The main challenge is to make it past the Super 8, and after that I might start getting real serious.

Somehow, I am more excited about the Twenty20 World Cup later this year. India has hardly played any Twenty20.


  1. The best part about cricket is that you can not watch most of it and still feel excited about the whole damned thing. Which is precisely what I plan to do this world cup. I'm pretty sorry you have to make an effort to watch it, both for the principle and the act...
    ManU climb on. Hold on SACF, youre almost there...
    By the way, your new look blog is really good. :)

  2. Thank you :) Not sure if by 'look' you mean frequency of posting content or actual template change. Thanks anyway.