With plans in place for the inaugural Major League Cricket (MLC) season in the summer of 2023, there is rightly plenty of optimism regarding the future of the sport in the United States.
Cricket has to compete with the more established sports in the US but a competitive league will increase interest and should bode well for the national T20 side going forward.
Interest Growing Stateside
With momentum building behind the plan to start the MLC next year, attention is starting to grow in T20 cricket in the US. When it comes to the massive sports market in the US, it’s unsurprising to see the NFL and NBA lead the way in streaming interest. What has been interesting in recent years has been the growing attention in soccer in the US and how its streaming popularity has surpassed that of baseball. That change in attitude in the American market is something that will certainly give cricket in the country hope it can build a significant audience.
While growth will have been steady over the decades, with most of the interest in cricket in the US expected to have come from those who have emigrated from cricket-playing nations, the emergence of the MLC looks set to be a game changer. It’s hoped that initially there will be six teams in the competition with the idea of eventually expanding to eight franchises. The MLC has been sanctioned by USA Cricket and looks set to be a major step in growing the popularity of cricket in the US. The Indian Premier League and Big Bash League in Australia lead the way in terms of the most popular competitions in the shortest form of the game. MLC will be looking to take the best parts of these tournaments and create a competition suited to an American market primed for a growing audience in the sport.
US To Co-Host World Cup In 2024
The US will be forced to watch on this autumn as the best teams on the planet battle it out in Australia for the 2022 T20 World Cup. Giants of the game in Australia, India and England are among the favorites to go all the way in the highly-anticipated tournament Down Under. However, in a great opportunity for the sport in America, the US will be co-hosts for the 2024 T20 World Cup alongside the West Indies.
Hosting the tournament means the US and West Indies have already qualified for the competition alongside the top-eight teams from the 2022 World Cup. Hosting and participating in a major tournament like this will give the US T20 side exposure they have not experienced in their history to date. Star player Ian Holland, who plays for English county outfit Hampshire, and other American rising talents will have an opportunity to shine on the biggest stage in the T20 game against some of the best teams in the world.
It really is an exciting time for cricket in the US and with the MLC and 2024 T20 World Cup on the horizon, audiences for American cricket can expect a steep rise in the coming years.