HotStar CricFest draws 1800 to Metreon, SF

IMG 2986Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

METREON, SF: It was a surreal feeling at City View at Metreon, a humungous 31,000 square feet in the heart of San Francisco, this past weekend, on October 13. City View’s, floor-to-ceiling windows offered an unobstructed view of the magnificent skyline, and the expansive outdoor terrace provided an open-air experience, a giant indoor cricket extravaganza, with plenty of interactive entertainment thrown in. It was hosted by Hotstar – India’s largest premium live streaming service which was launched in the U.S. in September last year.

Hotstar hosted the second Cricket Festival to celebrate the Sport’s popularity and influence in North America. The International Cricket Council says the United States has more than 200,000 cricket players, on 6,000 teams in 450 leagues. The meet featured two giants of Indian cricket, former Indian players Anil Kumble and Virender Sehwag, who flew down from India for the meet.
IMG 2967Anil Kumble and Virender Sehwag interacted with the fans and the audience, with the former detailing his experience as a captain and coach and in the IPL before retiring in 2010; and the latter shedding light on his experience as a cricketer, and who is still actively associated with and has started Sehwag Cricket Academy in Haryana to train young cricket enthusiasts.
Attendees mostly HotStar subscribers experienced the game first-hand through live simulations, activities and entertainment zones at the biggest cricket extravaganza. Fans also had the opportunity to interact with legends Anil Kumble and Virender Sehwag. Popular sports presenter Gaurav Kapur moderated proceedings during a press conference, and later, for a chat with Kumble and Sehwag.

Much before the fans got to hear Kumble and Sehwag reminisce about their past cricketing days and glory, there was plenty of entertainment, food and drinks at CityView to enthrall the fans. For guests, there was also a professional batting cage in the venue, with tennis balls, as well as a virtual reality experience for cricketers who fancied their chances of hitting a few balls, without the agony of getting hit by a real bouncer.
IMG 2931Ipsita Dasgupta, President, Hotstar International at Star India, an Indian American and former New Yorker who relocated to India 10 years ago, was present at the meet. “Since our launch in the U.S. in September of 2017, Hotstar has become a platform that connects and celebrates the South Asian Diaspora by bringing rich and diverse entertainment across Indian movies, TV shows and live sports, including cricket,

kabbadi and badminton. It gives us great pleasure to bring CricFest to the Bay Area,” she said.

“Leveraging our technology, consumer insight and expertise in cricket coverage, Hotstar now delivers 160 days of live cricket including the India – Aus series, IPL, World Cup and Women’s cricket on our platform, an immersive and engaging experience combined with greater convenience for our North American audience.”
CricFest unveiled an exclusive screening of Hotstar International’s FIRST original series, US 6: The Homecoming. The show features six of the finest, young Indian-American cricketers, as they make the journey to India to train with the Rajasthan Royals and immerse themselves in their own culture. The boys participated in practice sessions and interacted with
some of the biggest cricket icons in the game, including Sunil Gavaskar, Anil Kumble, Shane Warne, Ajinkya Rahane among many, many others.
By bringing a group of young men who are so passionate about the game to a place in the world where cricket is at the center, this show celebrates the tremendous devotion the Indian Diaspora has to their ethnic origin.

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