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Can Cricket Really Overtake Football to Become The World’s Most Popular Sport?

Indian cricket fans
Indian cricket fans
©Reuters
 

It’s no secret to anyone that cricket boomed in popularity in recent years. In these conditions, the International Cricket Council’s ambition to try and make cricket the most popular sport in the world does not seem like such a crazy idea.

However, does cricket really have what it takes to push the boundaries and really compete with football when it comes to spectators, viewers, and broadcasting? It is the theme we’re going to explore in this article to establish whether this sport has a fighting chance in a world dominated by football for so many years. So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into the subject and see what’s what.

 

Where Is Cricket Standing Right Now

Saying that the international cricket scene evolved remarkably in recent years is almost an understatement. The sport with a huge following base in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh managed to increase its presence in other territories that aren’t historically known for playing cricket. Currently, there are 105 countries that play cricket on a professional level. All these countries are members of the International Cricket Council, however, just 12 of them are full members. So, we can say that the full members are currently the country’s most heavily promoting cricket around the world. These are:

  • India
  • Australia
  • Pakistan
  • South Africa
  • England
  • New Zealand
  • Afghanistan
  • West Indies
  • Sri Lanka
  • Ireland
  • Bangladesh
  • Zimbabwe

 

Furthermore, international events like the ICC Cricket World Cup, T20 World Cup, or the Ashes Series contribute to making the sport more popular with each year that passes. It looks like the mainstream media is also slowly getting on-board to help promote this high-intensity and very enjoyable sport. However, what is still missing? What can make cricket a true contender for football and other popular sports like tennis or basketball?

 

The US to Play a Vital Role?

There are a lot of voices promoting the idea that cricket needs to become popular in the US to gain the needed momentum to spread even faster to new countries and enlarge its fanbase. And it’s almost funny how things work. Despite being followed by three countries that, together, make up for a quarter of the world’s population, cricket needs to penetrate the US market for a hope to finally blow.

 

If we look at football and the way it grew in the United States since 1994, you can clearly see a recipe that can be easily applied to cricket as well. Of course, this doesn’t mean that cricket isn’t already present in the US. It’s actually the fourth biggest market when talking about TV rights, after India, Australia, and England. It goes without saying there are far more people reading US online casino reviews at Casino Proper, however, that’s an excellent start. However, the US presence alone might not be enough for the much-needed revitalization. While most other sports allow more countries to participate at final events, cricket cut it down in 2019 from 14 teams to just 10.

 

So, even with a more aggressive approach on the US territory, cricket needs to do something about extending the number of national teams involved in international events. Sure, it’s not an easy task since most of the countries don’t have a desire to compete against the extremely experienced teams of India, England, Pakistan, or West Indies. However, just like UEFA is doing with the Nations Cup, allowing all members of the UEFA board to take part in this event, the ICC should consider putting together an event with more members.

 

Leaving aside the not-so-good period for sports that the world has gone through in recent months, cricket has everything needed to see a jump in popularity in other countries as well. This is a perfect moment since everyone is hungry for more sport. Time will tell if the cricket powers will manage to guide this sport towards a global appeal. One thing is certain, though: this sport is already huge and can be a serious threat to football one day.

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