Cricket is set to return to the Olympics in LA28 after a 128-year absence. The proposal for its inclusion, along with other sports, is awaiting formal approval by the IOC in Mumbai.
In a historic move, cricket is poised to make a triumphant return to the Olympics in LA28, marking over 128 years since its last appearance on the grand stage of the Games. The International Cricket Council (ICC) is celebrating a significant milestone as the sport’s inclusion in the upcoming Olympic event is one step closer to becoming a reality.
The sport, which initially made its Olympic debut in the 1900 Paris Games, is set to rejoin the global sporting spectacle. This remarkable development follows the official proposal submitted by the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games organizers. The proposal included cricket in the popular Twenty20 format, among other sports such as baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse (sixes), and squash, to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for potential inclusion in the 2028 Olympic sports program. The final approval is anticipated during the IOC session in Mumbai next week.
The ICC was quick to express its excitement and gratitude for LA28’s decision. In a statement issued on Monday, they said, “The International Cricket Council (ICC) is delighted at the decision of the organizers of the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics to recommend cricket for inclusion at the Games.”
ICC Chairman Greg Barclay shared his enthusiasm, stating, “We are delighted that LA28 has recommended cricket for inclusion in the Olympics. While this is not the final decision, it is a very significant landmark towards seeing cricket at the Olympics for the first time in more than a century. I’d like to thank LA28 for their support during the new sport evaluation process over the last two years, and we look forward to the final decision being taken at the IOC Session, in India, during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup next week.”
The inclusion of cricket in the Olympics is primarily driven by economic considerations. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) seeks to leverage the sport’s immense popularity in the subcontinent, particularly in cricket-crazy India, for commercial gain. According to reports from the UK media, the media rights value of the Olympic Games stands at approximately $16 million for one edition, but this figure could skyrocket to $200 million with cricket’s inclusion. An India-Pakistan contest for the gold medal has the potential to attract over a billion viewers, a level of viewership rarely seen in many Olympic disciplines.
LA28 CEO Kathy Carter expressed the organization’s commitment to reimagining the Olympic Games, saying, “In building the Olympic sport program, we were willing to challenge the status quo and think differently about what’s possible for the Games in Los Angeles. We approached the process holistically and authentically, ensuring that our decisions were grounded in the Games’ commitment to fiscal responsibility. And we’ve landed on a bold and balanced proposal that will energize the Games with culturally relevant competition and boundless possibility.”
The path to cricket’s inclusion in the Olympic program has become clearer in recent years, following the formal approval of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The decision to green-light the sport’s inclusion was made during a special general meeting under the leadership of Jay Shah.
Historically, the BCCI had been hesitant about Olympic participation for several reasons. Firstly, the organization had reservations about coming under the umbrella of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, it was wary of potential commercial losses when cricket is played at the quadrennial Games.
As the world eagerly anticipates the official confirmation of cricket’s return to the Olympics, it is undoubtedly a momentous occasion for the sport and its enthusiasts worldwide. The LA28 Olympics promises to be an event filled with exhilarating cricket action, showcasing the talent and passion of cricketers from around the globe, as the sport makes its comeback on the grandest stage of all.