India-driven financial pitch for cricket at Olympics | Cricket

India’s growing cricket market has found resonance in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) new pitch for the sport’s inclusion in the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 2028.

India’s Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and others (ANI)

The ICC has been making regular representations to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the LA28 Organizing Committee. In his latest message, he wants the IOC cricket fans to look at the financial ups and downs that come with the Indian market.

“The IOC’s media rights income from India would increase to $130 million at the low end of the scale and reach $260 million, the ICC has argued,” a source familiar with ICC’s pitch said. The IOC’s current media rights deal for Paris 2024 with Viacom18 for the Indian market is reportedly worth $31 million.

The ICC has arrived at the calculation based on the recent bumper response received from Indian broadcasters for the media rights of both the Indian Premier League and ICC events. 2022 is touted as a watershed moment for cricket valuations, with IPL media rights increasing by almost 300% ( 48390 crores to 16347 cr for 5 years) and ICC rights are going to be 400% more expensive in India – from around $1.5 billion for 8 years to $3 billion for 4 years.

The ICC has consistently used India’s demographic advantage and its love for cricket to promote its Olympic proposition. Popularity of a sport along with youth and digital reach is considered as one of the determining criteria.

“Globally we have over a billion fans and around 90 per cent of them want to see cricket at the Olympics,” ICC chairman Greg Barclay said. He has also highlighted that 92% of cricket fans come from South Asia.

Until last year, it was believed that facing stiff competition from cricket, motorsport, karate, baseball, softball, lacrosse, breaking, kickboxing, squash and American football, LA 28 and a possible proposal for the Brisbane Olympics 2032 Will be seen.

But with the Indian cricket board warming up to the idea, BCCI secretary Jay Shah was included in the ICC’s Olympic Working Group. This week, former Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, who led the city’s successful bid and is now the United States ambassador to India, was seen enjoying an IPL match with Shah in Ahmedabad.

Later, in Mumbai, Garcetti said that United States Cricket was keen to join the LA28.

The IOC intends to limit the total number of athletes to 10,500, with the ICC reducing participating teams to six for men and women in its proposal, with three-hour T20s the chosen format.

A final decision will be taken at the IOC session in Mumbai in mid-October, but the LA OC is expected to give its recommendations to the IOC in a month or so.

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