Cricket has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years. Although it’s always been a staple sport in many countries around the world, it’s fair to say that its popularity dipped in the 1990s. However, over the last two decades, cricket’s stock has risen. In fact, the 2019 Cricket World Cup reached a cumulative audience of 1.6 billion viewers. Add to this the fact 13.7 billion combined hours of action was consumed by people around the world and the tournament became the most watched cricket event in history.
Cricket is Booming Because of the Internet
It’s not just the international scene where cricket is booming. Viewing figures in the UK have reached peak levels in recent years. 4.5 million British people watched England in the 2019 Cricket World Cup when it was shown on Channel 4. That’s significant because it was the first time live international cricket was shown on a free-to-air channel for 14 years. By showing matches on Channel 4 and Sky, the Cricket World Cup was seen by many more people.
This switch is one of the reasons for the sport’s resurgence. However, it’s not the only one. Cricket has moved back into the spotlight thanks, in part, to the internet. For example, fans and non-fans can watch recent matches, classic contests and all manner of footage via YouTube. Things don’t stop there. YouTube has also become a hive of entertainment for cricket streamers. That’s right, fans of the sport can watch people playing cricket video games. Actor David Earl has become a popular cricket streamer (see video above), something that’s turned fans of comedy into casual cricket spectators.
Cricket Now Offers Something for Everyone
The internet has also given cricket a boost via the betting sector. The top cricket betting sites not only offer odds on the latest matches but all manner of auxiliary content. Indeed, when you look through the popular sportsbook reviews, you’ll see that they offer welcome bonuses for new customers. Alongside these promotions, the betting sites have match previews, expert tips and tons of statistical data. All of these things are designed to give sports bettors more information and, in turn, more value. However, what these sites have also done is made cricket more engaging. Because people can delve into the nuances of the sport in an accessible way, it makes cricket more interesting.
Of course, we can’t forget Twenty20. The shortened format was introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2003. The aim was to create a fast-paced game that could be over in a matter of hours. Indeed, with just 20 overs, players are forced to be more aggressive which, in turn, creates a more dramatic and less strategic game. This format was perfect for TV and remains so today. This has certainly helped to make cricket more palatable for the masses and, in turn, a more mainstream sport. When you combine this with the power of the internet and cricket’s inherent charm, it’s easy to see why it’s now back among the most popular sports in the world.