Why Cricket May Finally Make it to the Olympics

The world’s second most popular sport has billions of fans, yet hasn’t been at the Olympics for over 100 years. A new bid might finally change that.

Sukhada Tatke

September 14, 2022

Why Cricket May Finally Make it to the Olympics
(L-R) Kane Williamson of New Zealand, Virat Kohli of India, Faf Du Plessis of South Africa, Eoin Morgan of England, Sarfarez Ahmed of Pakistan, Dimuth Karunaratne of Sri Lanka, Gulbadin Naib of Afghanistan, Aaron Finch of Australia, Mashrafe Mortaza of Bangladesh and Jason Holder of West Indies in 2019 (Julian Finney-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Cricket made its Olympic debut in 1900 at Vélodrome de Vincennes, the massive 20,000-seater cycling stadium in Paris. France and England were the only two countries to play the sport at the Olympics that year, with the English winning. Cricket was a relatively new sport, so no major newspaper in either country would cover the 1900 game or the British victory. After the 1900 game, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, president of the Olympic Committee, later wrote, “cricket has practically no appeal for those who are not British.” The sport was never again played at the Olympics.  More than a century later, cricket has over 2 billion fans, of which 92% are in South Asia. The sport makes over $8 billion a year, with the Indian Premier League — a private league for cricket teams in India — alone making at least $6 billion yearly. Several high-profile cricketers, including Sourav Ganguly and Kumar Sangakkara, have clamored for cricket to be included in the Olympics for years, to no avail. But the tides finally may be changing. Today, owing to the sport’s global popularity and shortened game format, experts think cricket could return to the Olympics as early as Los Angeles 2028.