IPL Cricket's Online Video Offering Is An Epic Fail

ipl-logoYesterday, I wrote about Indian Premier League’s Twenty20 Cricket tournament for NewTeeVee. The big news was that the Indian professional cricket league championship (now in its second year) would be using Microsoft’s (s MSFT) Silverlight multimedia technology. Given the wild popularity of this ultra short-form of the sport, it was a good comeback for Microsoft, which was unceremoniously dropped by MLB.com in favor of the incumbent Adobe Flash. Well, as luck would have it, the Microsoft-IPL partnership got off to a disastrous start.

The IPL’s official web site has been on the blink for more than 30 hours. When I tweeted about that, many of my followers expressed the same frustration at not being able to access the web site, which was giving 503 error messages. Others complained that the tournament wasn’t available for viewing in North America. With day two of the tournament around the corner, no one has any idea when the site is actually going to actually be accessible.

When I reached out to Microsoft, they said that there have been outages at the back end and are unrelated to Silverlight. A Microsoft spokesperson said that you could access a player with limited functionality. So far, I have been unable to make it work.

Instead, I have turned to the trusted and more reliable Willow.tv for the game broadcasts. Sure, I have to use VMWare Fusion to run Windows XP in order to watch the games — but at least it works.

I think the online idea snafu is a big slap in the face for IPL. By not devoting more resources to its online video offering, IPL has missed out on an opportunity to make more money. I am sure if they had asked people to pay for the broadcasts, many fans, especially in North America could have forked over cash. Maybe they should visit the MLB.com offices in New York and get a first-hand lesson in making money from online video.