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Thursday, June 13, 2024

IOC Reportedly Will Make Cricket a New Olympic Sport

  • Cricket’s Olympic debut would make the Games especially appealing to broadcasters in markets such as India and Pakistan.
  • Viacom18 recently agreed to pay $721 million for broadcast rights to domestic Indian national team cricket matches.
The IOC is expected to vote Friday on cricket's Olympic future.
Syndication: Argus Leader

The International Olympic Committee will vote on Friday to determine whether cricket will be the newest sport. The IOC would then need to ratify that decision when it meets Oct. 15-17 in Mumbai.

Organizers are expected to add men’s and women’s cricket to the 2028 Los Angeles Games, reports the London Times. Cricket’s inclusion would strengthen Olympic broadcast appeal in parts of the world that are typically not as engaged in the Games — including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. 

Viacom18 recently agreed to pay $721 million for broadcast rights to domestic Indian national team cricket matches and signed a $3 billion deal last year for Indian Premier League digital rights.

The IOC’s preference is to add T20 (Twenty20) cricket, a shorter format of the game that is now played professionally in the U.S. in the inaugural season of Major League Cricket

The Olympics have never been held in India, but the addition of cricket could make hosting the Games more appealing to the country. IOC president Thomas Bach said India has a “strong case” to host the 2036 Olympics and hopes to see India submit a bid. 

Cricket is also popular in Australia, where the 2032 Olympics will be held in Brisbane. Earlier this year, Cricket Australia signed a $1 billion domestic media rights extension through 2031.

The IOC’s expected cricket proposal for LA28 reportedly includes two groups of four teams for both the men’s and women’s tournaments, with the top two in each going through to the semifinals.

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