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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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India Asserts Itself As Rising Sports Power With Streaming Record, Olympic Bid

  • New global streaming mark set just five months after prior record
  • World's most-populous country mounting effort to host the 2036 Olympics

India, which became the world’s most populous country earlier this year, is now showing greater strength as a sports power, too.

On Saturday, Disney’s Hotstar reclaimed the global on-demand video streaming record, drawing 35 million concurrent viewers for a ICC World Cup 2023 cricket match between archrivals India and Pakistan. The figure surpassed a prior mark of 32 million concurrent viewers set in May for this year’s Indian Premier League championship match.

Those historic figures helped prompt the International Olympic Committee to complete the process for cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles on Monday. The fact that the decision was made in Mumbai — India’s most populous city — only added to what International Cricket Council chair Greg Barclay called the “icing on the cake.”

The decision is also expected to raise the value of 2028 Olympic broadcasting rights in India by more than $100 million.

Olympic Hosting Aspirations

India is also mounting a bid to host the 2036 Olympics. The IOC’s decision on those Games will not arrive until at least 2026, but the country will likely be vying against Poland, Mexico, and Indonesia — countries that have also expressed interest in the 2036 Games.

“Indians are not just sports lovers, but we love it,” said India prime minister Narendra Modi. “India will leave no stone unturned in the preparation for the successful organization of the Olympics in 2036. This is the dream of the [1.4 billion] Indians.”

Modi and other leaders have not specified a city or region to center the bid, but Ahmedabad is a likely candidate given it has a 132,000-seat stadium named after the prime minister.

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