3 Major Reasons that contributed to IOC’s decision of including Cricket in Olympics
It’s finally going to happen! The thing that everyone has been waiting for is going to materialize in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games. The IOC released a formal statement announcing cricket as one of the five sports that will be added in the LA edition of the Olympics. And just like that, cricket is going to reach global audiences and invade the screens of billions and billions of viewers in the summer of 2028.
Everybody was expecting this to happen -from the primary stakeholders such as the ICC, the national teams, and the LA28 Committee itself to all secondary or indirect stakeholders such as media companies and broadcasters or online betting sites, which are more than eager to tap on the enormous profit-making opportunities of having cricket formally included in the Olympic Games.
The benefits of getting into the biggest sporting event in the world and the ultimate celebration of sports are easy to recognize. Cricket will become a sport with a global reach, it will experience explosive growth in viewership, it will generate stronger fan support and generate higher bettors’ interest (especially the younger bettors’ interest who fancy sports betting in Malaysia or anywhere else in the world where cricket is popular), it will leverage wider talent pools for players and teams and it will eventually grow into one of the most popular sports across the planet.
Although now it is a sport involving more than 1/3 of the world’s population, cricket needs the global exposure and reach that the Olympic Games have to offer in order to transition to a global sport.
The decision to include cricket in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics was not a difficult one, according to official statements made by members of the International Olympic Committee.
In fact, as it was expressed in various press releases and press conferences, there were three main factors that contributed to this decision and one of them was women’s cricket.
- Cricket growth in the US
The increasing popularity of cricket in the United States, the subsequent market growth and the success that marked the launch of MLC (Major League Cricket) last summer were all factors pointing towards that direction.
The first season of MLC that has taken place in Grand Prairie Stadium, Texas and Church Street Park in North Carolina was an absolute hit and everyone was thrilled that the Twenty20 cricket league went exceptionally well.
- Access to the Indian audience
Besides the growth of cricket in the US, another very important factor that contributed to the IOC’s decision was the access to India’s audience, which is among the biggest ones in the world.
Broadcasting the Olympic Games in India – which was going hand in hand with making cricket an Olympic sport in the LA28 Games – means getting a massive audience reach for the IOC as well. It’s not only that cricket wants the global reach of the IOC, it is also IOC wanting to reach the humongous Indian market, which up to now it has been somehow indifferent but now will definitely turn its attention to the Games.
- Women’s Twenty20 cricket
And the third factor, which has been cited as having an equally important role in the IOC’s decision, was the growing popularity of women’s cricket. Members of the IOC attended the T20 competition at the Commonwealth Games happening one year ago in Birmingham and noted that they were exciting and amazing, plus they were marked by widespread success.
Women’s cricket returning to the Commonwealth Games was indeed a very critical moment that eventually proved to be a game changer for the IOC and for cricket’s place in the Olympic Games in the Los Angeles 2028 edition.
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