The current state of cricket and its future in the United States
Cricket is now known as the second most popular sport worldwide next to football with over 2.5 billion fans. This may come off as a surprise to many as this still doesn’t seem as popular as basketball and football in the United States.
This sport is still mainly popular in a few countries like the UK, India, and Australia. However, the migration patterns from these countries in the last few years helped spread the cricket fever worldwide, especially in the United States.
It’s not really the first time that cricket is gaining popularity in the US. In fact, it was, at one point, extremely popular across the state. In fact, in the mid-1700s, cricket following peaked in areas like Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, and Boston. When the 1800s came in, there were already around 1000 cricket clubs across 22 states in the US.
The popularity of cricket in the US only dwindled during the Civil War. This was when baseball became more popular with the locals, specifically the soldiers. Because of this, baseball was seen as a patriotic game. After World War I, the Americans just seem to have stopped to care as much for cricket. It was even almost non-existent throughout the country, according to The Atlantic.
Since cricket is now slowly gaining more popularity once again in the US, broadcasting of cricket matches is now made more available locally. ESPN has already started broadcasting the Indian Premier League.
Thanks to the internet and technology, it’s also easier for people to stream and get updates about cricket matches worldwide. What’s also fueling the popularity of cricket is sports betting. In the US, sports betting is becoming more and more popular.
In May 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States found the Professional and Amateur Sports Act of 1982 unconstitutional. Because of this, it is now up to each state whether they’d like to locally legalize and regulate sports betting.
The legislation of sports betting in over 10 states as of now helps the sports industry to gain more following. It’s also no longer just a hobby or a way to gamble. Some people already see this as a serious career.
Football is still the most popular sport that punters wager on but cricket is also on the top list. Even if a sports event is foreign, US locals can still place their bets online. They can frequent different sites that could help them improve their bets and chances of winning.
It’s now easy to access Indian cricket tips site, football betting sites, and even NFL betting tips these days. Online betting does make a lot of difference as people are now more interested to participate in sports betting or simply following any sport.
Eventually, the cricket industry in the US sees that international cricket events will be held locally within this decade. Former president of the International Cricket Council or ICC, Ehsan Mani, shared his thoughts about this.
He said, “We saw football grow markedly in the U.S. after the World Cup was held there in 1994. Cricket should look at a World Cup or World T20 being held in the U.S. down the track. It is a sports market worth billions and already has a sizeable cricket presence with it being the fourth biggest TV rights market behind India, Australia, and England.”
“Football, basketball, and rugby are increasing the number of teams at World Cups. Cricket has always been an elitist sport and reducing the number of teams at next year’s World Cup is another example of that,” he added.
This year, USA Cricket has finally announced who they selected as their strategic partner for the development of a professional T20 tournament in the country. USA Cricket has selected the American Cricket Enterprise or ACE for this. ACE is backed by the founders of Willow TV and the principals of The Times of India, Satyan Gajwani and Vneet Jain.
The agreement between USA Cricket and ACE is said to be valued at over a billion US dollars. Last November, it was also announced that a request for the proposals for the T20 competition to be on a bid has already been made.
The US Cricket chairman of the board, Paraag Marathe shared his excitement about this and said, “USA Cricket is excited to partner with ACE to launch a professional cricket league in the United States and I thank the board for their hard work and thoughtful deliberation throughout this process.”