The USA is Co-Host of a Cricket World Cup - Will It Launch the Sport Here? | Sports Destination Management

The USA is Co-Host of a Cricket World Cup - Will It Launch the Sport Here?

Jan 16, 2022 | By: Mary Helen Sprecher
Photo © Gulrez K |

The international cricket community hopes a recent successful bid, in conjunction with Cricket West Indies, to host the 2024 T20 World Cup in the USA will, at long last, bring cricket into the mainstream on these shores.

The successful bid, announced in late 2021, came from Cricket West Indies (CWI) and USA Cricket. CWI represents the mainly English-speaking countries and territories in the Caribbean region.

According to an announcement from the International Cricket Council (ICC), this will be the fourth occasion the West Indies will be hosting a World Cup event on behalf of the ICC, and the first time ever that a major ICC event comes to the United States. The 2024 edition will be the first T20 World Cup to feature 20 teams. With an expansion of ICC global events announced earlier in the year, the 20 nations playing in the event will compete in four groups in a 55-match tournament to be played over 25 days starting in June 2024.

Cricket – wildly popular in the rest of the world, has yet to become mainstream in the USA. And accordingly, about two-thirds of the 55 matches will be played in the Caribbean, with the World Cup venues being drawn from the 13 established international cricket grounds in the West Indies.

In the United States, where the remaining one-third of the matches are likely to be played, there will be up to five venues, some of which are already ICC-approved for international cricket, some of which are under construction, and some of which will be repurposed specifically to host World Cup matches. All of the venues across both countries will be selected following a competitive bid process to be run over the coming months.

The USA has four major cricket venues: Central Broward Regional Park (Lauderhill, Florida), Leo Magnus Cricket Complex (Los Angeles), Indianapolis World Sports Park (Indianapolis) and Smart Choice Moosa Stadium (Pearland, Texas). While some are multi-purpose facilities, others are seeing heavy cricket use, propelled by demographic shifts. To date, however, cricket has not taken hold of the USA in the same way as other immigrant-driven sports (such as soccer).

The World Cup, however, stands to change that. And Paraag Marathe, board chair of USA Cricket, could not be more pleased.

“On behalf of the USA Cricket Board, we are overjoyed with the news after what has been a massive piece of work with our friends at Cricket West Indies to put together the winning bid for the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The ICC has identified the USA as a strategic market for growth that will benefit cricket around the world. A major event in 2024, the World Cup will be the critical catalyst to improve facilities, develop a professional league, grow the fanbase and inspire public and corporate support. Bringing 20 different nations together for the first time in what will be the biggest T20 World Cup of all time in 2024 is also the ideal showcase for the prospects of including cricket in the Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028 and leaving a legacy of facilities and public enthusiasm for the sport across America ahead of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.”

Yes, he said it. The 2028 Olympics. That’s the next big goal of ICC: cricket’s inclusion.

"In addition to marking a significant move away from those years, the choice of the US to help host the 2024 tournament (could be) a launch pad for cricket's long-awaited inclusion in the Olympic Games, starting with LA in 2028 and following up with Brisbane in 2032," said a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, as quoted in the Hindustan Times

In comments to Inside The Games, ICC Olympic Working Group chairman Ian Watmore has claimed a partnership with the Olympics could "spark something special’” in the U.S., noting, "We want more of the world to be able to love and enjoy cricket and there is no doubt the Olympics will help us in that ambition as we target less traditional markets like the United States – our number-one growth market for our next cycle. Already, we have a strong fanbase in the U.S. with an estimated 30 million fans and, for ICC events, it is our third-largest broadcast market, but we believe it has the potential to be a mainstream sport in America, and the Olympics can help deliver that long-term ambition."

If cricket wants to jockey for position in the Summer Games in Los Angeles, it has some tough competition: baseball and softball (working as one lobby) are wildly popular in the U.S. Other sports that intend to come to the bargaining table are squash, cheer, karate, lacrosse and flag football – and that’s just the beginning. Others who have tried to get into previous Olympics are also considering their campaigns.

About the Author