UNITED STATES—Based on the number of fans, cricket is the second-most popular sport next to European football. It is estimated that cricket has over 2.5 billion fans worldwide but despite this, it’s a sport that doesn’t get much attention from the people of the US. Still, the number of fans it has makes sense because it is extremely popular in populated countries especially in India.
If you’re in the US and you think that cricket deserves more attention in the country, you won’t need to wait any longer because the International Cricket Council and Cricket USA are now working on getting the sport out there.
This is especially exciting for cricket fans in the US who love to bet on sports. The local betting sites that operate within the country don’t pay much attention to cricket and US cricket fans end up betting on offshore bookies with better cricket odds. One of the best cricket betting sites is 10CRIC.com. You can always place cricket bets on this site but once cricket gains more traction in the country, more betting odds variety will be available too on this sport.
Cricket’s History in the US
It may seem like Cricket is completely foreign in the country but the truth is that there was a time in the US when this was the most played sport. Cricket came to North America in the 18th century and became extremely popular. At some point, it became a college sport and was even more popular than baseball.
However, during the Civil War, the popularity of cricket started to deteriorate because of baseball. This is because many American soldiers are seen to play baseball a lot and as a patriotic act, many Americans followed the trend. After the Civil War, cricket managed to become quite the talk of the town again because of the Philadelphia Cricket Team. However, this only lasted until the start of World War I.
Still, cricket never really left the country. In the late 20th century, cricket was revived by immigrants who are from cricket nations like South Asia and the West Indies. This time around, cricket teams formed by these people were able to participate in several ICC events.
However, the USA Cricket Association was suspended by the ICC multiple times. The first two times were during 2005 and 2007. When this happened again the third time, the ICC Board spoke about their decision and said that they were concerned about the lack of US Cricket improvement in certain areas.
The chairman of the ICC during that time, N Srinivasan said, “The ICC Board had put USACA on notice in its January meeting and had hoped that it would show some urgency to address and improve in the areas that were identified as weaknesses. Unfortunately, the response to date has been inadequate and it has proved necessary for the ICC Board to take further action.” This is why we haven’t seen any US cricket teams competing in the biggest cricket leagues since then.
US Cricket is Back and Better
The Major League Cricket (MLC) is coming to the US and it is a professional Twenty20 cricket league that is operated by the American Cricket Enterprises (ACE). Some of the prominent people involved in MLC are Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Microsoft Chairman Satya Nadella.
Originally, the MLC was set to start by the end of this year but they eventually decided to push it further to 2023 because of the pandemic. What we know is that the league will have six teams hailing from major US cities which are likely to be Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, and San Francisco.
USA Cricket CEO Iain Higgins recently spoke about the cities where cricket was most popular and mentioned these states. The co-founders also shared that they are hoping to tap into a market of fans who are mainly from South Asia and the Caribbean and have been hoping to root for local teams for a while now.
MLC co-founder Sameer Mehta said, “There is a huge amount of demand from the U.S.-based audience to consume the sport in person.” He also mentioned that the US is only second to India when comes to having fans who are willing to travel abroad to watch cricket matches live. The league is hoping to try and change that soon.
Overall, many American cricket fans are excited to finally be able to watch local events and root for local teams. Mehta said that their target audience is the ones who see cricket as part of their life or culture. According to Mehta, it’s simply a sport that’s ingrained in people who have experienced it and have fallen in love with it as kids.