Despite being the second most popular sport in the world, just after football/soccer, Cricket is still ignored and disregarded in most parts of the world. There are only 10 main countries and 4 active associate countries who play the game, and thanks to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, this small group still represents ~26% of the world's population.
Football, whose FIFA member list itself contains 200+ countries, has a more active participation, and dwarves any other sport in the world.
One reason for the lower visibility in the global circuit is the minuscule revenue that cricket generates, compared to other world sports. It's estimated to be somewhere between $250-275M annually. IPL (India premier league), the most popular league in cricket, is estimated to be valued as high $4.13B by a UK-based brand consultancy, Brand Finance, however IPL's revenue figures aren't that transparent and can be disputed.
But which sport generates the most revenue?
Revenue Professional soccer leagues generate, dwarf any other sport in the world. Combined, the top soccer leagues generate more than $25B in revenue, each year.
However, interestingly NFL, MLB and NBA generate more revenue than any soccer league in the world. The most valued Soccer league, unsurprisingly is the English Premier League, which generates roughly $4.4B annually.
Where does the future lie?
Looking at the stats, I have a couple of questions in mind.
1. Valuation and Revenue is currently, obviously disproportionally distributed to Sports played in Mature countries like US, JP and UK. Will this gradually shift to sports popular in emerging countries like China and India. PingPong is played by 200m people in China, along with sports like Badminton, Basketball and Soccer. Cricket is rapidly getting popular in China, and a strong Chinese cricket team would mean an additional Billion viewers for the sport, and more investors interested in it
2. Are NFL, NHL and MLB overvalued, and a bubble waiting to burst.
This year's NFL Seasonal finale, popularly called the Super Bowl was the most watched US program ever aired with 112m viewers. Advertisers shelled a record $4m for a 30sec slot, with entertaining performances from Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, to attract a broader audience.
To put these numbers in context, it's estimated that
the 2006 FIFA world cup, 800m saw the 2011 World cup cricket semi-finals between India vs. Pakistan, and more than a billion tuned in to see the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. Not all audiences are equally attractive to marketers, but if the GDP and economic growth are an indicator, the shift might be coming sooner than expected.