The ICC in its recent letter to the IOC emphasised the financial benefits of including cricket in the LA 2028 Olympics. This effort is part of a long-drawn attempt by the apex cricket body to secure a place in the global athletic event.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is regularly submitting requests for the sport’s inclusion to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Los Angeles Olympic Games Organising Committee.
The ICC has encouraged the IOC to take into account the financial advantages of the cricket-obsessed Indian market in their most recent letter.
Cricket’s Argument for the Olympics
In order to decide which new sports should be included in the upcoming Olympic cycle, the IOC and LA28, the host committee, are currently engaged in a multiyear selection process. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has developed a financial assessment for how cricket’s widespread appeal might translate into actual dollars in an effort to support its position.
The ICC informed the IOC that adding the sport to the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles could attract an additional $268 million in media money from India alone.
The IOC has stated that it aims to cap the number of total participants at 10,500 as part of broader cost-cutting initiatives. Cricket rosters are not small, with around 15 athletes per side, or roughly 180 athletes overall.
With a three-hour T20 format, the ICC has therefore limited the number of competing teams in its plan to six for men and six for women. Regarding how severely the IOC would apply that cap, opinions vary.
The LA Organising Committee is likely to submit its proposals to the IOC around a month beforehand, but the IOC will make the ultimate decision during its session in Mumbai in the middle of October.
Financial Viability of Cricket’s Pitch
The Indian Premier League’s men’s games are reportedly valued at $14.6 million (Rs. 114 crores) per game among its TV and internet partners, whereas the ICC’s package is worth $16.8 million per game.
This ICC statistic serves as the basis for the Olympic calculations, which then deduct 30% due to the unfavourable start times for competitions in Los Angeles. The “Olympic premium” is then added to account for the extra media coverage of the larger event, and it is determined that each women’s game would equal 50% of each men’s game. The 10 Olympic men’s matches came in at $134 million to $179 million, and the men’s and women’s combined events came in at $201 million to $268 million.
The existing agreement between the IOC and India is said to be worth $12 million over the course of the four years leading up to the Paris Summer Olympics in 2024. The highest estimate provided by the ICC, $268 million more, would represent an increase of 2,133%.
No current site in the city has the capacity to hold top-tier cricket. The event planners would have to either construct a temporary venue or perhaps make use of a brand-new $30 million project that is now being built for neighbouring Irvine, California.
Final Decisions and the People Involved
Once LA28 has decided which disciplines to include from the current Olympic sports, the IOC and LA28’s approach will be approved at a later IOC session. Mumbai will host the following meeting in October; coincidentally, that summit will take place during India’s hosting of the 2023 Cricket World Cup.
The BCCI secretary, Jay Shah, was a member of the ICC’s Olympic working group. It was led by ICC chair Greg Barclay at the time of his membership and also comprised independent director Indra Nooyi, former USA Cricket president Paraag Marathe, and Zimbabwe Cricket chair Tavengwa Mukuhlani.
This week in Ahmedabad, Shah was seen watching an IPL game with the former mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, who managed the city’s successful bid and is presently the American ambassador to India.
Garcetti has been talking a lot about cricket on social media, and last week he handed Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan an LA28 cap. Later, in Mumbai, he claimed that the US was anxious to add cricket to LA28.