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Cricket looks to break America
Displaced by baseball as the United States’ bat and ball sport of choice, Cricket is hoping to make gains in the country starting with a new league in 2022 that is attracting overseas talent and hopes to give US fans something to cheer about.
Why it matters
Cricket enjoys vast audiences around the world but is a niche sport in the US thanks to the sport’s British imperial past – the International Cricket Council began as the Imperial Cricket Council – that closed it off to non-Commonwealth countries.
In most of the places in which it is popular, like the UK, India, and Australia, audiences tend to be older, wealthier, and better educated than average. However, with the introduction of new formats the sport’s target demographic is getting younger.
The list of founding investors includes Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; Shantanu Narayen, Chairman and CEO of Adobe; Aditya Agarwal, Ex-Facebook and Dropbox CTO amid other heavyweights from the tech and finance worlds.
According to Sameer Mehta, one of the league’s co-founders talking to NBC, American cricket fans are second only to Indian fans in their eagerness to travel to watch cricket.
The US is already one of cricket’s top five media markets. This demand is also reflected in Disney’s decision to bring its coverage of the Indian Premier League, the world’s biggest and most lucrative cricket championship, onto ESPN+ rather than Hotstar US.
The league hopes to speak to a market of fans with South Asian and Caribbean heritage, which for many young fans is a strong form of connection with their backgrounds. This is a particularly useful idea among Gen-Zs who are much more likely to consider themselves citizens of the world.
Sourced from Sky Sports, Major League Cricket, NBC, Deadline, News India Times; Image: Major League Cricket
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