One of the recent announcements that made rounds throughout global sports was the inclusion of cricket in Los Angeles 2028 with the T20 format.
After a 128-year hiatus, cricket will be played at the Games and the acceptance of the proposal was officially given in the 141st International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Mumbai. The majority of the IOC members voted in favour of the addition of cricket, while a couple of them were against it and one member didn’t vote.
- IOC TO LEVERAGE THE HEFTY GLOBAL CRICKET AUDIENCE
With the addition of cricket at the Games, the IOC, first and foremost, will be able to tap into the full-member cricket-playing nations which consist of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, England and Wales, Ireland, Netherlands, South Africa, Zimbabwe and West Indies (15 countries and territories representing from the Caribbean).
The International Cricket Council (ICC), the international governing body of cricket, has more than 100 members amassed from five regions along with 4200 professional cricketers across the globe and 30 million registered players.
According to a report by Indian Cricket Fandom, which came out earlier this year, cricket has managed to maintain its top position as India’s most-watched sport. The game of cricket has a total worldwide audience of 2.5 billion.
As per a report by Ormax Media, India’s sports population totals 13.6 crore out of which 12.4 crore are cricket enthusiasts. Ten out of nine people in India follow cricket. With a total of 759 million internet users in India, the digital streaming of sports, especially cricket has seen a massive upsight. The recently concluded ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 Final witnessed a peak concurrency of 5.9 crore on Disney+ Hotstar, which speaks a lot about India being a cricket-fanatic nation and the enthusiasts consuming content through digital media.
The IOC could also leverage India’s sports population which is greater than France’s total population to gather an audience for its other sports.
Commenting on the topic, Nikhil Vyas, Founding Partner, ITW Universe & CEO of ITW Sports Inc. USA, said, “Cricket is the most viewed sport in India and the most followed genre, and the country has a population of billion plus that will ramp up the potential viewership numbers for the IOC. The inclusion of cricket will also help the IOC to secure a better media rights deal and understand what to expect and how much they can potentially monetise it as the pricing of this sport is exponentially more as compared to any other sport.
“It is commercially a very big opportunity for the Olympics, and this will also help in gathering a significant audience for other sports as well.“
- THE INCLUSION OF CRICKET IN LA28 ENHANCES THE HORIZONS OF BRANDS
The Tokyo Olympics had 3.05 billion unique viewers throughout the digital and linear mediums. The output of TV and digital coverage was 33% and 34% higher, respectively than the Rio Olympics.
With the presence of cricket and IOC’s likey enhancement in coverage output, brands from around the globe could expand their horizons by reaching out to new audiences. Especially Indian brands, which have heavily invested in ICC events could receive a fresh opportunity of tapping into a different set of markets.
Shantanu Ugrankar, Head – Revenue, Strategy & Planning, Meraki Sport and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, added, “The inclusion of cricket in the Olympics will generate significant interest from global corporations and Indian companies and could well become an alternative option for advertisers, beyond ICC events.
“With the Indian economy poised to become a 5 trillion GDP by 2026 – 27, cricket at the Olympics could potentially become the most sought-after option for advertisers, given that it is well and truly at the intersection of national pride through sport.“