With growing popularity among the sports enthusiasts in United States, the country now has the second highest viewership of cricket in the world behind only India. Due to this, Twenty20 (T20) professional cricket league is coming to the country with $70 million licensing agreement.
It’s a big opportunity for local cricket clubs in United States. The Louisville Cricket Club is gearing up for the challenge. The club was started back in 2013 and now has more than 50 members. While interviewing the club captain Jai Bokey said “I want to get Louisville on the world map of cricket”. Jai is a passionate cricketer who wanted to continue playing the sport when he came to Unites States back in 2001. He is looking to expand the membership of the club and encourages interested people to reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Louisville Cricket Club members and others are working with officials at ‘Metro Parks and Recreation’ to build a larger cricket pitch at Hays Kennedy Park, 7303 Beachland Beach Road.
To give a brief history about cricket, it is one of the oldest and most popular team sports in many countries including England, Australia, India, West Indies etc. Originated in England around the 1500s, the game went along for the ride as the British Empire expanded. It was a popular American sport before the Civil War, with rules that were formalized by Benjamin Franklin in 1754. George Washington played cricket in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in 1778 and the first international competition in any sport was actually a cricket match between the U.S. and Canada, according to the USACA. In the 18th century it was the national sport of England and it continued to grow and evolve in the 20th century. With the introduction of new formats and tournaments like Twenty20 and Indian Premier League, cricket has become really popular all over the world, with billions of fans and followers. But as its popularity grew overtime time, cricket betting also thrived. Initially cricket betting was done through offline bookmakers at a local bar or over phone calls. But with the support of technology, online betting is really taking off.
Moving back to the licensing agreement, it is a significant step towards conducting professional cricket tournaments in the country. The agreement is between the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) and Pennsylvania-based Global Sports Ventures, LLC. The president and CEO of Global Sports Ventures, Jignesh Pandya said “Our goal is to promote the game of cricket in the U.S. Right now, none of the players have a contract where they can play professionally in the U.S. We have players who have part-time or full-time jobs, but dedicate quite a good amount of time to the game of cricket. We want to bring professionalism to that.” The selection process is still underway to decide the number of teams, the venues and the contracts for the payers. But its a big deal and the cricket fans community in Unites States is eagerly waiting for this league.