In the run-up to the Rio Olympics, the sports business public might have missed something that happened stateside.
The International Cricket Council suspended the USA Cricket Association in June 2015 and cut off funding, citing concerns about “governance, finance, reputation and cricketing activities.” But following a December meeting in Dallas between the ICC’s Sustainable Foundation Advisory Group and USACA representatives, David Richardson, chief executive of the sport’s international governing body, said he is “optimistic” that positive changes are in store.
“We recognize that it has been, and continues to be, a difficult time for the U.S. cricket community as the ICC continues to push for improved governance structure, cricket system and increased professionalism in the administration of the sport in the USA,” Richardson told Inside the Games. “I am more optimistic than ever before that significant progress for the administration of cricket in the USA is just around the corner, and I encourage the entire cricket community to continue to show the patience that they have displayed over the past months as we continue to work towards unification.”
Meanwhile, in September, the USACA announced exclusive licensing rights for a Franchised T20 professional cricket league to Pennsylvania-based sports development company Global Sports Ventures, LLC — bringing the world's second most popular sport to the United States. According to Forbes.com, more than 1.4 million people in the U.S. watched the ICC World Twenty20 competition won by West Indies earlier in 2016.
What’s more, leading U.S. destinations are adding cricket fields to keep up with not only local demand but also demand for traveling events coming to town.
Despite the ICC suspension, the U.S. women’s national cricket team will travel to Scotland in August to compete in the Europe/Americas Qualifier for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2018.
Cricket’s history in the United States runs deeper than many observers might think. Benjamin Franklin, one of the country’s so-called Founding Fathers, formalized the sport’s rules in 1754, according to the USACA, and George Washington played cricket before he became the first U.S. president.