Global media rights for cricket topped $1 billion for the first time in 2018 and will likely top $2 billion in 2021, according to a report by Media Partners Asia (MPA).
The report, The Future of Cricket, suggests that cricket’s future prospects can be optimised even further if cricket boards and authorities implement structural changes while reallocating resources to meet global potential and growing consumer demand.
Commenting on the report’s findings, MPA executive director Vivek Couto said: “Cricket is Asia’s biggest sport in terms of viewership and has successfully absorbed three different game formats. Audiences and fans have moved rapidly to shorter formats, allowing new avenues for monetisation as digital distribution accelerates. Cricket boards now need to harness new audiences and markets as digital content formats open up for monetisation.”
The report identifies four main growth drivers for cricket:
Three key markets – India, Australia and England – accounted for 90 per cent of the value of cricket’s global media rights in 2018. The value of global media rights will reach $1.7 billion in 2019, driven by the ICC ODI Cricket World Cup in June. Cricket is already one of the top ten sports worldwide in terms of media valuation. MPA estimates that cricket’s valuation will top $2 billion in 2021, with the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup likely to be held in India that year.
The game’s growing value is largely due to cricket’s youngest and shortest format, Twenty20s (T20s). ODIs and test cricket formats, played by 12 national teams, need to be revitalised as they lack relevance and lag in monetisation. The popularity of test cricket in particular is declining, with both stadium attendance and TV viewership eroding steadily over the last five years. Nonetheless, a critical mass of traditional fans still follow test cricket.