A friend of mine, just last week claimed that cricket’s popularity is decreasing and perhaps its time to just stop playing this wonderful game. I chuckled at his suggestions and highlighted that cricket as sport has never been more lucrative (at least for the Big 3).
And ICC has released a comprehensive research just to highlight how popular the sport is today. It was conducted 14 countries. 12 Test playing nations and United States and & China. These two countries have been identified as potential growth markets. Cricket has over one billion fans. 90% of those are from the sub-continent. Around 300 million people play some form of the game. And one myth breaking stat was that out of that 1 billion, close to 40% are females.
Based on the survey, ICC believes that T20 is the most effective form of the game to promote cricket. ICC events get the most traction from the viewers. Close to 95% people stated that they were keenly follow ICC 50 over and T20 World Cups. 87% fans would like to see their team compete at Olympics. 70% of fans are interested in women’s cricket.
Another significant factor, highlighted by this survey is that around 70% of the fans follow Test Cricket. Despite its apparent problems and being a misfit in today’s ecosystem, following of test cricket remains strong.
As an individual, who loves the game and was super worried about the consequences of these T20 leagues, this survey is certainly reassuring. It is important however that ICC doesn’t rest and continues to work towards including more members.