Cricket is not as popular as football or basketball, but it has a place in our world. The earliest record of Cricket is from the 16th century. Although the version of the game played back then is different from the current Cricket we are used to. The game developed grew past British borders. By the late 19th century it was spread across all British colonies. Even Women’s Cricket was first recorded in the mid 18th century.
Right now, other sports like soccer and horse racing have over-shadowed Cricket’s popularity in the UK, but it is still near the top. The UK is ranked at number 19 in the cricket international popularity ladder, while the leading countries where the sport is trendy are:
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the governing body of the game, and it is responsible for the tournaments and licenses. Right now, only twelve countries have national cricket boards, but the council has over a hundred member nations.
If we are talking statistics, we can say that Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world with over 2.5 billion estimated fans. The only competition in the world with a more significant number of estimated fans is football with over 3.5 billion fans. The difference is that while football is popular in all regions worldwide, Cricket has only regional popularity in the UK, Australia, and Asia.
Due to the migration of people to more prominent countries like the United States, Cricket’s popularity is growing exponentially. The growing market in the US consists of about 30 million fans, according to ESPN, and New York City is one of the most significant hotspots.
The typical game lasts above three and a half hours, and many people don’t have the patience in today’s fast-paced environment. Even new fans of the sport don’t have patience sometimes. The modern, fast-paced T20 format is an excellent way to attract new fans if you ask me. There aren’t any periods like a middle over in an ODI game, for example in which both teams usually play defensive styles. An inning in a T20 game lasts only 20 overs, and something new happens every few overs. The league attracts the attention of fans all around and appeals to the youth.
The sport has the numbers in fan-base statistics, but the problem is that those numbers are mainly from smaller countries. Cricket has potential, and if it continues to grow, maybe one day it will overshadow soccer too. For that to happen, it needs to establish a more massive fan-base in the Americas and Europe. We will see if interest increases in the years to come. But seeing as the sport has been around for centuries and it is still quite popular, I think it still has a lot of potentials.