Cricket, a sport beloved by millions, could be on the cusp of a significant breakthrough. It is currently one of the nine sports vying for a coveted spot in the 2028 Olympics, and emerging indications suggest it may take center stage as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) seeks to tap into its fervent global fanbase.
The decisive moment for cricket’s Olympic aspirations is set for October 15-16, closely following the highly anticipated World Cup clash between India and Pakistan. During this period, over 100 IOC members will convene in Mumbai to cast their votes, determining the inclusion of new sports in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
Clarity on cricket’s potential inclusion is expected this week, as the IOC’s influential Executive Board is scheduled to convene in Lausanne, Switzerland, on September 8. This board, which includes IOC President Thomas Bach, will deliberate on the sports program for the LA Olympics, and the final decision will be ratified during the IOC session in Mumbai.
Among the competing sports aiming for a place on the Olympic stage are flag football, karate, kickboxing, baseball-softball, lacrosse, breakdancing, squash, and motorsport.
Michael Payne, a former marketing and broadcast rights director at the IOC with nearly two decades of experience within the organization, believes that cricket holds a strong position as a favorite contender for inclusion.
Payne points to the “current cricket boom” in the United States, where prominent technology companies have invested in the Major League. Furthermore, cricket’s prospects are enhanced by the fact that the 2032 Olympics are slated for Brisbane, Australia, a nation where cricket enjoys a prominent place in the sporting landscape.
“In 2032, the Games are in Brisbane, Australia… there will be a local interest in cricket… And also from a business perspective, cricket is booming in America,” notes Payne. He underscores the significance of the Los Angeles organizing committee being led by Casey Wasserman, a highly astute business leader who owns one of the world’s largest sports media conglomerates. Wasserman’s vision and acumen have the potential to unlock cricket’s global appeal.
The possibility of cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics has generated immense excitement within the cricketing community, both among players and fans. The prospect of witnessing the world’s finest cricketers competing on the grandest sporting stage is tantalizing. Additionally, it represents an opportunity to expand the sport’s global footprint and introduce it to a broader audience, particularly in regions where cricket is yet to gain a strong foothold.
While the road to Olympic inclusion is paved with challenges and deliberations, cricket’s journey to the Games is undeniably gathering momentum. If it secures a place in the 2028 Olympics, it will mark a historic moment for the sport, opening up new horizons and possibilities for cricketers and enthusiasts worldwide.
As cricket enthusiasts await the forthcoming decisions of the IOC’s Executive Board and the subsequent vote by IOC members in Mumbai, there is a palpable sense of anticipation and hope. Cricket’s long-cherished dream of being part of the Olympics may soon become a reality, ushering in an exciting new chapter in the sport’s storied history.