Cricket is the world’s second-most popular sport after soccer, attracting a global audience of over 2.5 billion across 180 nations.
Yet, professional cricket has never truly moved the needle in American sports culture.
That’s about to change.
Cricket originated in the early 17th century in southeast England and owes its initial expansion to British traders, settlers, administrators, and soldiers from the British Army.
During the early 19th-century colonization, these groups exported the game to other parts of the globe, such as India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Now, professional cricket is about to ship its product to the most prominent sports economy in the world. Major League Cricket — the first official professional American cricket league — plans to launch in summer 2023.
The U.S. has over 20 million cricket fans, but most rely on foreign cricket broadcasts at unusual hours.
The U.S. is one of the world’s top five cricket media markets.
According to SponsorPulse, it ranks eighth in the percentage of consumers engaged with cricket worldwide and third in absolute population behind India and China.
MLC is backed by many prominent investors, some of which have relevant South-Asian roots, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, and billionaire investor Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
MLC aims to have over six international-grade stadiums in critical American markets that can hold over 30 national and international events with over 200,000 annual attendees and generate billions of broadcast views annually.
The outlook and beginning stages of MLC’s approach to deploying resources, leveraging network effects, and building a professional league from scratch are worth monitoring because they will set the tone for expected growth and the likelihood of commercial success in the world’s biggest sports economy.
Want to learn more? Check out the full cricket report here.