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Cricket moves to the west

Cricket's fan base in the US is estimated to be 24 million and increasing.

The game between bowler’s wit and batter’s instincts, Cricket, has quite become a religion in the Indian subcontinent.

Cricket, which is centuries old, has its biggest on-field and commercial market in India, with the everlasting evolution of the game, the sport is inevitably going to soar high in the upcoming years in the Asian region. The veterans of the industry have also realised that America has the potential of becoming one of the biggest global commercial markets for cricket.

Cricket’s fan base in the US is estimated to be 24 million and increasing. The male following of the sport is 16 million while the female following is eight million.

In the recently concluded India tour of West Indies, two T20I fixtures were conducted in Florida. This initiative wasn’t just a one-off thing, whenever the Men in Blue tour the Caribbean, a couple of games are always scheduled in the US. The fixtures in Florida have always witnessed a packed house over the years.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport’s international governing body, also announced that the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 will be conducted in West Indies and the US. Such endeavours reflect that cricket’s highest authoritative body is highly interested in expanding the sport in the US. The ICC is also committed to introducing cricket in the LA Olympics, which will reflect the sport’s popularity and will provide exposure to the game in a multi-sporting event.

Major League Cricket (MLC) is also in the talks to be launched in a year’s time from now. Earlier this year, the league also managed to raise funds, the Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, was among the lead investors. Apart from Nadella, the league has been backed by Neeraj Arora, a former Google employee, Vijay Shekhar of Paytm, Vineet Jain of Times Group and many more.

At the moment, the Minor League Cricket is currently the top-most cricket competition in the US until MLC commences.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the remote work culture has been highly promoted. Being physically present at the central office or in the country of operations hasn’t stayed relevant due to this new work culture and might even influence the functioning of the sport in the US.

Indians have already marked their ground in the US in promoting the sport at the highest level as almost all investors of the MLC are Indians.

Parag Marathe, the long-time executive of the San Francisco 49ers along with the vice chairman of Leeds United FC, was elected as the chairman of the USA Cricket in October 2018. Marathe’s tenure as chairman was concluded earlier this year in May.

The owners of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Knight Riders Group has teamed up with the MLC to build a stadium in Los Angeles.

The growth of cricket is inevitable when such developments regarding the enhancement of the sport are done in the region.

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