BLOG | by YouGov Sport

How popular is cricket globally?

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has expressed intentions to enter cricket into the Olympics Games with plans to submit a bid to make an appearance at the 2028 Games in Los Angeles. With that in mind, we take a look at the global popularity of cricket – a factor the International Olympics Committee (IOC) take into account when considering the bid.

Our data shows that cricket continues to maintain a strong grip over its traditional markets. More than half of all urban Indians say they watch or follow cricket on a regular basis (53%), which is among the highest shares for any sport anywhere in the world.

Two in five online South Africans (39%) also follow the sport avidly, as do a quarter of Australians (26%). The share drops to just 15% among Brits, but that is still a significant figure in comparison to other sports.

Cricket also has strong presence among consumers in UAE (24%), which is home to a big population of expats from South Asian markets.

Beyond these markets, cricket’s reach is somewhat limited. About 8% of consumers in Saudi Arabia and 7% in Ireland say they follow cricket on a regular basis. In Canada, about 3% of the population are fans of the sport.

In the US, which is the host of the 2028 Olympics and where cricket has long tried to make inroads, only one in hundred consumers follow the sport (1%).

But the low proportions of consumers following cricket in some of these markets might be partially explained by the lack of regular mainstream coverage of the sport in these markets. To assess this, we could look at the levels of interest in a particular tournament. Global Fan Profiles also collects this data on the T20 World Cup.

Interestingly, whereas only 1% of Americans say they watch or follow cricket regularly, nearly 6% of them say they are at least somewhat interested in the T20 World Cup. It is worth noting that for markets with regular broadcast of cricket, the figures do not deviate too much if at all. For instance, in Australia (26%) and UK (15%) exactly the same proportion of people express an interest in the T20 World Cup as those that follow cricket regularly.

In several of the markets that contain very small proportions of consumers that follow cricket regularly, the share of those that say they are “somewhat interested” in the T20 World Cup or that it is one of their top interests grows sharply.

The introduction of cricket into the Olympics might help cricket tap into this latent audience with more regularity by demonstrating to broadcasters and sponsors in these geographies the level of interest in the sport.

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Methodology: YouGov Global Fan Profiles, which includes data from 38 markets, is based on continuously collected data from several sources, rather than from a single limited questionnaire.

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