Cricket is starting to go global, which can come as a surprise to many since it’s the second most popular sport next to football. Well, it simply means that more and more countries are starting to understand how thrilling cricket matches can be.
That’s all thanks to the most popular cricket tournaments around the world, and of course, the marketing efforts of different organizations handling their local cricket scenes.
In this article, we’ll take a look at cricket’s reach worldwide, which tournaments are doing great and are helping the sport gain more popularity, and how advertising and sponsorships are also helping the sport get more followers.
Popularity of Cricket Worldwide
It’s undeniable that cricket is most popular in India. However, it’s also a favorite of many sports fans in countries like Australia, Pakistan, and the West Indies. It’s also a rising sport in countries like the UAE, Nepal, New Zealand, South Africa, and Ireland.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has reported that cricket is played in over 120 countries. Statistics also dictate that there are over 30 million registered cricket players, and many of them are in Asian countries.
Now, even if cricket is considered the second most popular sport worldwide, we can still say that it’s not as popular as other major sports leagues like the English Premier League of Europe or the National Basketball Association of the United States.
It just so happens that this is a well-loved sport in one of the most populated countries, India. On a global scale, cricket is estimated to have over 2.5 billion fans, and some statistics reveal that around half of that number are fans from India.
Cricket stars are also scoring great brand deals. An example is how 10CRIC, a site where you can find competitive Cricket World Cup ‘23 betting odds, has a partnership with the Universal Boss, Chris Gayle.
Such partnership not only promotes the brand itself but also the passion of the cricketers and fans themselves when it comes to this sport.
Biggest and Most Prestigious Cricket Tournaments
Cricket’s journey to global acclaim is further illuminated by its marquee events. Here are the much-awaited cricket events that many fans are always excited to witness:
The Indian Premier League
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a T20 tournament that’s captured not only the attention of Indians, but also other cricket fans around the world. It’s a stage where domestic and international cricket stars meet and play for 10 different teams.
The IPL is an annual event and the 2023 edition has already concluded in May. Chennai Super Kings triumphed the league with their 5th title which they won against Gujarat Titans during the final.
ICC’s Men’s Cricket World Cup
The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup is the pinnacle of One Day International (ODI) cricket, and it’s a tournament that unites cricketing nations worldwide. This is held every four years, and its 13th edition is set to be hosted by India this year.
The World Cup has produced iconic moments and matches that have etched themselves into cricketing folklore. India is winning the World Cup in 1983 and 2011 on home soil. England’s win in the previous edition which was in 2019 was also iconic.
The Ashes is a Test cricket series only between England and Australia, and many would agree that these two are some of cricket’s most revered and enduring rivalries. We do have to say that the rivalry between these two nations is deeply rooted in history and tradition.
This year’s The Ashes has already concluded and England are the current title holders. The next The Ashes is scheduled sometime in 2025.
The Big Bash League
The Big Bash League (BBL) has revolutionized domestic T20 cricket in Australia. This was first conducted in 2011 and a total of 8 teams would compete throughout the tournament. It’s Australia’s version of the IPL.
This year’s edition of the BBL has yet to happen. It’s set to kick off on December 7, 2023. The final is scheduled for January 24, 2024. During the latest edition, Pert Scorchers was able to secure their 5th title.
The Role of Advertising and Sponsorship in Cricket’s Popularity
In an age where sports and entertainment are closely intertwined, cricket has become a fertile ground for brands to connect with audiences on a massive scale.
There are memorable cricket ads that stick in the heads of many. This includes Nike’s campaign for the Cricket World Cup in 2011 using their signature tagline: Just Do It.
The CWC 2019 Coca-Cola campaign was also something fun since it featured different Bollywood stars like Ranbir Kapoor and Paresh Rawal.
Recently, Star Sports India has also released a fun ad with cricket star Hardik Pandya. They are now promoting the Asian T20I Champions which will start on January 3, 2024.
The steady rise of cricket’s popularity, fueled by thrilling matches, fierce rivalries, and innovative advertising, has surely transformed the sport from a colonial pastime into a global sensation.
We can only expect more countries to show interest in the sport. Maybe one day even beat the number of followers that English football has.