Willow TV, the premier service for live cricket in the U.S. and Canada, will join DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM just in time for the quadrennial 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, and for the first time ever, DIRECTV for BUSINESS will offer the service to its vast network of more than 300,000 sports bars, restaurants, hotels, casinos, stadiums, and other commercial venues. Originally delayed by the COVID-19 global pandemic, this year’s World Cup begins across several sites in host country India starting Oct. 5, and all DIRECTV services involved intend to launch the service on Oct. 3.
Willow TV is the only 24×7 cricket channel available in the U.S. and offers several hundred days of live match competition each year. It will join DIRECTV via satellite on channel 625 and DIRECTV via Internet and DIRECTV STREAM on 625/626 with a second channel of Willow Xtra. Willow TV is the exclusive home to the Indian Premier League (IPL), ICC World Championships (2024-2027), Major League Cricket, England & Wales Cricket Board, Caribbean Premier League, Cricket Australia, Cricket South Africa, Pakistan Cricket Board, and Pakistan Super League, among other top competition.
A leader in sports, with a combination of local, regional, national, and global events, DIRECTV will add Willow TV to its new DIRECTV Sports Pack which includes a wide variety of more than 20 professional and specialty sports networks, including NFL RedZone from NFL Network, conference and league-specific services, and other top competition and commentary. DIRECTV Sports Pack is available to customers with a base package of ENTERTAINMENT or above for less than $15 a month and is also included in some base packages. The ICC World Cup is in India next month and the popular ICC T20 Cricket World Cup tournament is coming to the U.S. for the first time ever next June, so fans can check out all the action on DIRECTV Sports Pack.
“Cricket is one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. now that Major League Cricket launched last July and the T20 World Cup is coming to America next June,” said Willow TV Chief Operating Officer Todd Myers. “Willow TV is North America’s home for cricket, and we’re delighted to partner with DIRECTV to serve passionate cricket enthusiasts and expose more sports fans to the world’s second-most popular sport. We can’t wait to deliver all the best cricket from inside the U.S. and around the world to these millions of DIRECTV and DIRECTV Stream subscribers.”
“We have always believed strongly in the unique passion and loyalty that sports fans experience with their favorite players, teams, and competitions,” said Rob Thun, chief content officer at DIRECTV. “The addition of Willow TV to DIRECTV SPORTS PACK is a great example of how we can provide more options for customers to choose the programming they value.”
The Cricket World Cup pits top national teams from around the world in a month-long competition organized by the International Cricket Council every four years. The tournament consistently ranks among the world’s most-watched sporting events and serves as the flagship of the international cricket calendar every fourth year. Ten teams, including host nation India, will compete for the championship starting with Group Play on Oct. 5 through the Finals on Sunday, Nov. 19 from Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad. The championship trophy has been making its way around the world since July 1, beginning that circuit attached to a high-altitude balloon above the planet’s atmosphere before returning back to Earth.
This year’s tournament field includes Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, defending champion England, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka. Given increasing popularity, the format will expand to include 14 teams starting with the 2027 World Cup held jointly in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. Since the tournament began in 1975, Australia has won five times; India and West Indies twice each; and Pakistan, Sri Lanka and returning champion England have won one world cricket title apiece.