How popular is cricket in the world
Next to soccer, cricket is the most popular sport in the world
The fanfare and zeal that cricket commandos have is largely attributed to the South Asian population, who make up one-fifth of the total world population. India - where cricket is almost a pseudo-religion - has a population of more than a billion, which, when combined with the overwhelming audience from Pakistan, England, Australia and other countries, makes cricket the second most watched sports competition in the world. This phenomenon limits the competition for cricket and basketball for second place. Perhaps this brings significantly different parameters, such as money and global popularity, into the equation.
Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar | © Pulkit Sinha / Flickr
In the defense of basketball, the game is developing into a global sport from its native USA. The ball game boasts several professional leagues from the United States, something that cricket fails to make. Professional leagues in cricket are largely limited to those areas where the sport has a predominantly strong base. Cricket is oblivious to most of North and South America, which is undermining its prospects for growth. Basketball, on the other hand, is geared towards sporting fixations in China, the Philippines and Australia and is therefore growing rapidly.
To stay ahead of the curve, the International Cricket Council (ICC) brings dynamism to the game. When cricket's lengthy testing format failed to attract customers, the ICC introduced limited overs cricket. But at the beginning of the 21st century, the limited oversized format also began to lose its appeal. This, in turn, paved the way for a Twenty20 format that turned out to be a cricket talisman.
Cricket is played religiously in South Asia © Nagarjun Kandukuru / Flickr
Growth and Perspectives
The Twenty20 format brought the tenacity and exuberance to the game that was otherwise lacking. The new format resulted in lucrative leagues like the Indian Premier League (IPL) that became profitable businesses. As surprising as it may seem, IPL's brand value is over $ 4 billion. Similar to IPL, there are a few other leagues that are making good income.
Aside from Asia and Europe, cricket's growing popularity in Africa has an advantage over basketball. Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa have sizeable populations who are avid followers of the game. Another factor that strengthens the cricket case is the game's strong base in the Caribbean islands. Given the presence of cricket in most of the continents, it is believed that there is room for growth there.
Indian Premier League | © Public.Resource.Org/Flickr
Cricket's ardent followers mostly come from the Third World, which greatly hinders their growth. Unlike the sophistication in most of North America and Europe, the Third World has a lot of catching up to do. Unlike cricket, basketball, and soccer, they owe much of their popularity to the internet. A good percentage of the cricket-watching population is not on par with technological developments, which is a problem for the growth of the sport. This will change in the near future.
Aside from the monetary aspects, cricket doesn't shy away from any other game when it comes to attendance. It is not uncommon to see empty streets in India and Pakistan during high voltage cricket matches. Perhaps such dedication keeps the sport alive. As long as that dedication continues, cricket will never stop growing - with or without the rest of the world.
Author: Victoria George
Victoria George is a 41 year old journalist. Certified music expert. Travelaholic. Pop culture advocate. Introvert. Web fan. Researcher. Beer geek. Thinker. Zombie specialist. General organizer.
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