As one of the most popular sports worldwide and with significant followings in India, the UK, and Australia, cricket has found itself in the spotlight once more. Surprisingly, it is seen as the second most popular sport across the globe, with only football held in higher regard. Why is cricket so popular when there is so much choice out there?
It has cultural significance
It might not be the case in every nation, but cricket is the single biggest sport in the country in India. Ranking even higher than football, some players and teams have amassed cult-like followings, with past superstars such as Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, and Sachin Tendulkar benefitting from have raucous and passionate crowds behind.
In fact, in India in particular the players are treated like royalty in some cases and much of this is linked back to a match in 1932, when India and England playing in front of 25,000 people. The match generated a groudswell of national pride amongst the Indian contingent and help to provide them with a sense of cultural identity. This match is seen as an important landmark in helping India to gain independence from the British Empire.
It’s not just India
Whilst it might not seem like the case, there is a significant following from television audiences as well as in the stadiums. Although this can be tempered by travel restrictions imposed by lockdowns, when India beat England in February 2021, Channel 4 still managed to pull in approximately 9 million viewers, Whilst a pinch of salt needs to be taken as people might well have opted for an alternative option.
Despite this, the figures do speak for themselves, showing that there is genuine interest in the sport, with 2.5 billion people showing some form of interest across the globe. Even the Ashes series between England and Australia draws in a large audience, with more than 14 million unique viewers tuning in at some point during the 2017/18 series.
As with many sports, the popularity leads to large amounts of money being invested. Whilst television companies invest billions in football on a yearly basis, the IPL still challenges it in regards to being the most lucrative league in the world. In 2019 the league was valued at $6.8 billion, with investors continuing to pump in money to gain the best players.
Much like other sports, there are so many people looking to gain a piece of the pie. Whether they are investors or betting pundits, there are so many people who want to get involved, with millions of people placing bets on matches within the IPL.
With gambling legalized in many forms across India, this is no different to the swathes of people who now use online casinos as a way of adding a little bit of excitement into their lives. With online gambling being prevalent across the country, it is little surprise to see more and more cash being pumped into the IPL as people look to improve their lot.
Nevertheless, with so many people being involved and interested in cricket on a worldwide scale, it is unlikely that the behemoth is going to slow any time soon. Much like with football, cricket is on the rise, and with such a strong fanbase, it isn’t going anywhere in a hurry.