Cricket: A multi-billion dollar sporting business Ghana can tap into
Cricket will make a return to the Olympics at the 2028 Los Angeles Games in the United States. The sport has a huge ascending global reach and among the top ten richest sporting disciplines in the country.
The US decided to add cricket to it repertoire of disciplines at the games because it commands the attention of over two billion people across the globe.
In the United States, football, basketball and baseball still dominate. But evidence shows the bat-and-ball sport is once again gaining traction in Greater Boston and across the country.
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a 22-yard (20-metre) pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps.
The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at one of the wickets with the bat and then running between the wickets, while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this (by preventing the ball from leaving the field, and getting the ball to either wicket) and dismiss each batter (so they are "out").
Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, and by the fielding side either catching the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground, or hitting a wicket with the ball before a batter can cross the crease in front of the wicket. When ten batters have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles.
The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches.
They communicate with two off-field scorers who record the match's statistical information.
The rise of cricket
Cricket has been around for centuries, since the 1500s. With 104 nations as official members of the International Cricket Council, it’s one of the world’s most popular sports.
But cricket is most profitable in India. The Indian Premier League, or IPL, is a relatively new league. It’s only in its eleventh season and has already generated more money from sponsorships than Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States. According to advertising media company GroupM, the IPL made $1 billion in sponsorship money in 2017 compared to the $892 million the MLB made in sponsorships in 2017, according to IEG, a sponsorship evaluation firm.
In 2017, the IPL was valued at $5.3 billion, according to financial advisory firm Duff & Phelps. The IPL saw a 26 percent increase in its value from 2016, thanks to new broadcasting deals, the value of its title sponsor Vivo, and an increase in brand value for all of the teams, Duff & Phelps said.
The IPL’s global rights
The hundreds of millions of viewers have caught the eyes of major U.S.-based media companies. In 2017, there was a bidding war for the global broadcasting rights for IPL. Companies like Fox, Facebook, and Sony threw their hats in the ring to get the rights.
The winner was Fox, which struck a five-year $2.55 billion deal for the rights. Those rights may end up finding a new home if Walt Disney succeeds in its attempt to buy Fox. The combined company would have the global rights to the sport.
The Ghana Cricket Association is a body in charge of the sport. Despite making some strides including qualifying the national teams to international tournament there is still more room for improvement.
The need to develop infrastructure by investing in building cricket stadiums, practice facilities, and training academies is key.
Also coaching and training Ghanaian coaches to attain high international standards to impart the game into players for success on the pitch is paramount.
The State must undertake grassroots development while initiating cricket programs in schools and universities. This includes introducing the sport at a grassroots level.