If you do a quick search, you’ll learn that cricket is the second most popular sport worldwide next to football. Depending on where you are in the world, it may seem like this isn’t the case. If you’re in countries like India, Bangladesh, Australia, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, you’re likely to agree with this information. However, if you’re from countries like the United States, Canada, or the Philippines, you probably will be skeptical about it.
The truth, however, is that cricket is actually a very popular sport and this is mainly because of where this sport is popular. Based on search traffic, the top five countries that look up the word cricket the most are Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and India.
True enough, India has the biggest cricket tournament held annually which is the Indian Premier League (IPL). The IPL is estimated to have around 105 million unique viewers during its last season. This year, it has an average viewership of over 116 million.
Cricket fans have plenty to watch each year aside from the IPL. They would also flock to The Hundred cricket betting sites whenever it is on. The World Cup is also something they look forward to watching and wagering on. The global cricket calendar simply has so many series for them to look forward to.
India’s Love for Cricket
When it comes to cricket’s popularity, it’s simply hard not to talk about how big this sport is in India. We can say that India plays a big role in cricket’s popularity as this country has one of the biggest numbers of the population worldwide. Even if it isn’t India’s national sport, the nation simply loves it and this country already gives cricket millions of viewers.
BARC reports that around 93 percent of sports viewers in the country would watch cricket. According to the ICC as well, India constitutes around 90 percent of the one billion fans of this sport. The country’s love for this sport is also evident by seeing cricket clinics all scattered all over the country.
India has also produced big names in the cricket industry like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly who is now the head of the Board of Cricket Control in India or the BCCI.
The BCCI is the governing body for cricket in India and is in charge of all the cricket matches held in the country. It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and is also under the Government of India. It has been around since 1928 and today, they are in charge of the prestigious IPL.
The ICC Aims to Make Cricket Bigger than Football
The ICC has always been ambitious about letting cricket overtake football when it comes to popularity. What many is wondering, however, is whether it is even possible. Football is extremely popular in European countries and it also has quite a following in Asia and the United States.
FIFA reported that the 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia reached an average viewership of over 517 million worldwide. They also reported that this final alone had over 1.1 billion people from around the world viewers throughout the 90-minute spectacle.
Overall, it is estimated that football has over 4 billion fans worldwide. Meanwhile, cricket has over 2.5 billion fans. With that, for cricket to overtake the popularity of football, it will have to penetrate more countries like the United States.
Currently, American football and baseball are the ones that are extremely popular in the country. It’s safe to say that cricket only has a few following there at the moment. However, what many do not know is that America once has loved cricket so much that it had over a thousand cricket clubs throughout the country.
Before the Civil war, cricket was played a lot in over 20 states. However, when the war came, many soldiers were spotted playing baseball during their free time and as a patriotic act, many Americans followed suit. After the Civil War, baseball rose to popularity, and cricket’s charm somehow dwindled.
Cricket never really went away after this. In fact, in the modern-day, the US has a cricket national team that has been a part of huge cricket tournaments like the Auty Cup in Canada and even the World Cup. Today, USA Cricket is now trying to once again develop and make cricket great in America again. If cricket becomes more popular in the country, we could say that it wouldn’t be impossible for cricket to come close to football in terms of popularity.
Source: Cricket – The Cricket Paper