The USA and the West Indies will host the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2024, the first time North America has embraced the planet’s second-most popular sport. Cricket fans are aware of the hold the sport has on the Caribbean, but the US is different because it’s insular as far as global sports are concerned.
But this move, along with its approach to soccer and the English Premier League, underlines a change in direction. So, what will this mean for the region when the cricketing fraternity arrives in four years?
Hosting a major event has an inevitable side-effect. It makes the local community take notice and engage with the occasion. The 2024 T20 World Cup won’t be any different. Normally, you may not expect the tournament’s reach to expand across the entire country due to the size of America. However, a selection of features should negate this.
Firstly, the US will welcome 33% of the competition’s total fixtures, with the rest being played in the West Indies. Still, it’s one-third of all the games, which is a significant amount. Secondly, the venues appear as if they will be played in different states, from Florida to California and Texas.
Currently, there’s only one ICC-approved stadium – the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium – and it’s in Lauderhill. But World Sports Park in Indianapolis, Moosa Stadium in Houston, BPL Cricket Ground in Chicago, and Woodley Park in Los Angeles have the existing infrastructure required to welcome cricket players and fans.
The US audience may need to learn about the rules and regulations to engage more effectively, yet there is a base for the TV stations to work with. For example, Sling reported its average cricket viewership hours increased by 600% in 2019 between May and June, which was before the Men’s ODI World Cup. The fact that ESPN+ streamed the latest edition of the T20 World Cup suggests that Americans will get on onboard with the traveling circus.
Market Growth Across Various Industries
If more Americans tune in, there is bound to be an impact on the industries relating to cricket in the US. Of course, the effect will be multiplied by two when you consider the tourism element. Not only will citizens and residents consume T20 fixtures in their local communities, but passionate supporters are expected to visit in their droves.
As a result, some sectors will take advantage by welcoming as many new customers as possible. Hospitality is at the top of the list because it’s one of the 25-plus sectors to make up the US travel and tourism sector, and its contribution is considerable as it accounts for over 50% of travel and tourism’s output. Visitors inevitably bring their customs, too, which could be a good sign for sports betting, a market that’s been experiencing serious investment without the introduction of a global sporting tournament.
Even better, the platforms that are available in cricket’s biggest market, mainly India, are also accessible in the US. Bet365, for example, is considered among the best cricket betting sites in India, and it has an excellent reputation in America, too, which means the betting experience should be seamless for guests. Of course, if American engagement increases due to the sport’s broader reach during the competition, nothing’s preventing the locals from sampling the value on offer. Therefore, traffic on cricket betting sites may well enhance the industry’s already impressive popularity.
The impact on sports doesn’t appear as if it will end with the T20 World Cup, either. If anything, it looks like it will be a springboard for future events. The 2028 Los Angeles Olympics is a fantastic case study. LA is destined to host a T20 match in 2024, mainly because the sport sees it as a vehicle to include cricket within the 2028 Olympics. Should the US be the touch paper for the sport’s inclusion, it could ignite engagements levels even further, and not only in North America.
The 2024 T20 World Cup is coming to the US. What effects it will have on the sport and the country are to be decided, yet it could be a momentous occasion for both.