Cricket in Los Angeles Olympics: Sport’s debut in LA 2028 one step closer as ICC pitches IOA a lucrative offer

As per a Revsportz report, IOC and ICC have confirmed the website about the debut of the Gentlemen’s Game in the LA Olympics, ‘unless something dramatically goes wrong’. The decision over cricket being an Olympic sport can be announced at the IOC session, which is scheduled to be held in Mumbai in October 2023.

ICC, cricket’s global body, has been trying to get the sport included in the Olympic fold to fan its popularity in other parts of the world. Reports now claim that IOC is also looking at cricket as the best way to establish a foothold in the expanding Indian market. ICC has pitched for the inclusion of cricket into the Olympics this way.

The IOC has also started discussions about the possible venues to host cricket games in LA Olympics. It is being reported that the KKR stadium which is being constructed in the USA for the upcoming Major League Cricket – the T20 cricket league organised by US Cricket – can act as one of the venues.

In their recent letter to IOC, ICC urged the Olympic body to consider the financial benefits of the cricket-crazy Indian market.

As per a Hindustan Times report, a source familiar with the ICC’s pitch said, “IOC’s media rights income from India would go up to $130 million on a lower end of the scale and touch as much as $260 million if cricket was played at the games, the ICC has argued.”

BCCI has always been hesitant to send teams to multi-sports events like Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, citing the busy international calendar and less monetary value. However, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah has shown interest lately and he has been tasked with the responsibility of heading the IOC session in India in October, by ICC and Mrs Nita Ambani. Shah was included in the ICC’s Olympic working group.

As the 2032 Olympics will be held in Brisbane, cricket can naturally continue as an Olympic sport in Australia once it is included in LA because there is no dearth of venues and popularity.

“There have been regular deliberations on the matter and things are all on track… In fact, details are now being finalised and all looks good,” a source in the know of the developments told Revsportz further.

The current media rights agreement between the IOC and Jio-backed Viacom 18 for the Indian market is around $31 million but the inclusion of cricket in the Olympics will catapult the media rights to over $130 million.

ICC seems to have based its calculations on the recent enthusiastic reaction from Indian broadcasters to the media rights for both the Indian Premier League (IPL) and ICC events.

The IPL media rights increased by about 300% (to Rs 48390 crores from Rs 16347 crores for five years) in 2022, and the ICC rights in India increased by 400% (to $3 billion for four years from roughly $1.5 billion for eight years), marking a turning point in the sport’s valuation.

Earlier last week, former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the American ambassador to India – who oversaw the LA’s successful application – was spotted watching an IPL game with Shah last week in Ahmedabad.

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