Is Cricket getting popular in the USA? “Yes” is the answer. Will it be successful enough to join the ranks of other American leagues like the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB? Only time will tell what takes place in the future. Although cricket has faced challenges when it comes to setting up itself as a brand sport in the United States, there is still great hope due to the growing South Asian community. Yes, it will take time with consistent efforts and the start of Major League Cricket seems to be the right step. Off course, the MLC brand will ensure cricket promotion on a wider scale across the United States.
History of Cricket in the U.S.A
Who introduced cricket to America? In 1751, British colonists reportedly played the first cricket match in New York. London Eleven and New York City were the teams who played this match in Manhattan.
Philadelphia’s Role in the Rise of Cricket
Following this match, Philadelphia became the center of cricket in the United States, and the majority of cricket evolved as a result.
The first cricket match between Canada and the United States was played in 1895 at Manheim Stadium in Philadelphia. Following this, there was a significant increase in cricket popularity among those in the upper classes. At the time, Philadelphia was the hub of all cricket activity, with over 100 cricket clubs.
Philadelphia also produced the father of cricket in the United States known as J Barton King. He played against England and the Australian team in matches after 1900. J Barton King received a lot of praise from legends of the past Sir Don Bradman from Australia and Plum Warner from England.
Cricket once had over 10,000 fans in the United States. According to many historians, cricket was on track to become a national sport in the United States. In fact, it was a more popular sport than Australia and was on the track to compete with England at the International level. Now we shall look at why cricket didn’t succeed in the past.
Fall of Cricket in the United States
Historians believe that two elements contributed to the decline of cricket in the United States.
- First is baseball’s introduction
- Second, is the American Revolution
How Baseball Contributed to the Decline of Cricket in the U.S.A?
Before cricket, there was a sport called Rounder. Rounders was a very popular sport in Britain and Australia in the 15th and 16th centuries.
With the arrival of British colonists in the United States, rounders were played in New York.
The majority of historians believe that rounders were the first form of cricket. It gained popularity among Irish and British immigrants. So, early baseball was developed from the Rounder. At one time, it gained more popularity than cricket.
Thus very early baseball (US Rounders) developed in the United States under the cover of cricket. The American population accepted this as their own sport and developed new rules. Hence, modern Baseball was started with the American tag.
Due to the similarity with cricket, people took a serious interest in Baseball. For example, the Bat and Ball combination is the same in cricket as well as in Baseball. Moreover, pitcher and catch terms are also used in both games.
Following the establishment of the professional baseball league MLB in 1876, the rise of cricket became something of a pipe goal.
How the American Revolution Contributed to the Fall of Cricket in the U.S.A?
The American Revolution or Civil War was the initial event that triggered the decline of cricket in the United States. The Britishness of cricket games was the real problem.
We all know that the American people have a fascination with having their own brand. Hence, the presence of Baseball provided this chance. Therefore, a major shift and trend was seen from cricket to Baseball.
Many soldiers of the Civil War were seen playing modern baseball. After this, rules were made to grow the popularity of the game.
By the 1900s, cricket and baseball had become far more different from one another than in baseball’s early days.
Will Cricket be a Successful Sport in the U.S.A?
Yes, the chances are much higher than before. ICC, the cricket governing body for world cricket, is seriously focused on developing cricket in the United States.
After the beginning of the twenty-first century, some serious efforts were taken. Due to the arrival of Asian communities, cricket’s overall image is on the rise in the United States.
Major and Minor leagues are the most recent developments to promote cricket at the grassroots level.
New stadiums and grounds are being built, along with the necessary facilities. MLC will be closely working with the ICC to promote cricket in the future.
Here is the list of cricket stadiums that will host Major League matches in the USA.
|Grand Prairie, Stadium
A sudden cricket transformation will not take place immediately, but it will take a period of 10 to 15 years.
Furthermore, ICC is now more focused on hosting the next T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies which is scheduled to take place in 2024.
Will Major League Cricket Help the Rise of Cricket in the U.S.A?
Almost all sports in the United States of America are serious business enterprises. The initiation of Major League Cricket is the first step towards making cricket as a sports enterprise. Its junior format is the minor cricket league where cricket growth will be targeted at the grass root level.
Following the recent success of the Caribbean Premier League, several businesses are interested in investing more in American cricket.
CPL has given the owners a lot of profits, and they have now moved to the United States for serious investments.
The $120 million investment in MLC, which is going to start with six franchises, will be primarily dedicated to the building of premier cricket-specific stadiums and training centers to help in the development of an upcoming crop of US-born players.
Cricket in the United States will see a serious boost in the upcoming T20 World Cup in 2024. After this, there is some news that cricket will also be part of the LA Olympics 2028. So, cricket’s Olympics revival and Major League Cricket will contribute a lot to developing a sports brand in the United States.
In conclusion, it is not clear whether or not cricket will grow to be a brand sport in future years in the US. Cricket still has plenty of distance to go before it becomes a popular sport in the country. Regardless of recent growth, especially among immigrant communities from nations that play cricket.
Cricket is growing its fanbase in America for the last 2 decades. It is estimated that over 30 Million fans like Cricket in the USA.
Yes, the United States is actively participating in T20 cricket. They will co-host the T20 World Cup in 2024 alongside the West Indies.