Cricket on the Front Foot as Olympics Panel Explores Inclusion of New Sports

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Cricket Vying for Spot at 2028 Olympics

Cricket Vying for Spot at 2028 Olympics

Cricket emerging as a front runner

Cricket could soon begin a new innings of its own. It is among nine sports vying for a spot at the 2028 Olympics and is emerging as a front runner as the International Olympic Committee looks to tap into its die-hard fan base, The Indian Express has learnt.

Decision to be made this October

The decision will be made on October 15-16, just after the World Cup marquee clash between India and Pakistan, when more than 100 IOC members vote in Mumbai to include new sports in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Cricket’s likelihood to be confirmed this week

The likelihood will be clear this week itself as the IOC’s all-powerful Executive Board is due to meet in Lausanne, Switzerland on September 8. The Board, which includes IOC president Thomas Bach, will take a call on the sports programme for the LA Olympics and it will then be ratified during the IOC session in Mumbai.

Other sports in contention

  • Flag football
  • Karate
  • Kickboxing
  • Baseball-softball
  • Lacrosse
  • Breakdancing
  • Squash
  • Motorsport

Cricket favored to get the nod

But Michael Payne, a former marketing and broadcast rights director of the IOC who is familiar with its inner workings after working there for nearly two decades, believes that cricket remains a favourite to get the nod. He cited the “current cricket boom” in the US and Australia’s interest due to hosting the 2032 Olympics.

Cricket’s potential impact

  • Local interest in Australia, where cricket is a major sport
  • Cricket’s booming popularity in America
  • Wooing the cricket-loving Indian and South Asian fan base
  • Tapping into the subcontinent’s vast market

Prominent Indian broadcasters invested in the Olympics

As per reports, Indian broadcasters Viacom 18 paid approximately $31 million to bag the rights to show the Olympics, including the Paris Games. In contrast, American network NBC paid $7.65 billion for a deal that runs from 2021 to 2032.

Cricket’s absence and recent developments

Cricket was last played at the Olympics in 1900, and it has remained out largely due to the IOC’s rigid policy on including one sport only if another was dropped. However, in recent years, the ICC has been pushing for cricket’s return to the Olympics, and the ICC has pitched the T20 format with five teams in each gender likely to feature in LA.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

First published on: 04-09-2023 at 04:04 IST

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