The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has officially included the T20 format of cricket in the program for the Los Angeles Olympics 2028, as announced during the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai. This decision not only coincides with the ongoing ICC World Cup 2023 hosted by India but also marks the return of the IOC gathering to India after a 40-year hiatus.
The IOC’s Executive Board had given its approval last week to the proposal put forth by the Los Angeles Games organizers, which sought to incorporate cricket into the Olympic program. In addition to cricket, four other sports, including baseball-softball, flag football, lacrosse (sixes), and squash, have been included in the roster for the LA Games.
IOC President Thomas Bach, in a media briefing following the Executive Board meeting, emphasized the significance of this inclusion for the American sports culture and its potential to engage new athletes and fan communities in the United States and around the world. “We see growing popularity of cricket, particularly the T20 format. The World Cup (50 overs) is a huge success already,” Bach said.
The five sports approved solely for the Los Angeles Games in 2028, including cricket, are set to bring diversity and excitement to the Olympics. It will be the first time cricket has been part of the Olympic program since 1900.
The Los Angeles Games organizing committee has proposed a six-team event for both men’s and women’s T20 cricket, with the United States expected to field teams as the host nation. However, final decisions on the number of teams and the qualification system are yet to be determined.
Bach esaid the collaborative approach with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the involvement of respective international federations to make cricket even more popular globally. He stated, “We are looking forward to receiving their ideas on how to use this inclusion in the Olympic program to make cricket even more popular across the globe.”
The inclusion of cricket in the Olympics is a significant development for the sport, and it is expected to generate substantial broadcast revenue, especially from cricket-crazy countries like India. It is estimated that cricket’s participation in the Olympics could bring in at least $100 million in broadcast revenue from India.