The Rising Tide of Cricket in North America: A Golden Opportunity for Brands

June 4th, 2024 | Jason Harper, Senior Account Director for Sports and Strategic Initiatives, Ethnicity Matters

Cricket is getting more and more visibility through major events on our continent as the Cricket World Cup is being played in North America for the first time this summer from June 1 – June 29, 2024 and Canada has qualified for the T20 event for the first time.
Once named the national sport by Sir John A. MacDonald, Cricket claims a historical spot in the heart of Canada’s heritage.
This sport is rapidly transforming into a cultural and commercial powerhouse across Canada, resonating deeply within the diverse tapestry of our nation.
By building strategic partnerships via Cricket, brands can make the most of the game to establish themselves in a sponsorship market that has yet to be fully exploited.
Not only can brands communicate to new audiences, but they can also access a new form of exposure as well as build and extend a fresh brand affinity and develop engagement with these newly reached communities.

Cricket is a chance to reach multicultural audiences

As a global game with a fan base surpassed only by soccer, Cricket has roots firmly planted in nations across the South Asian subcontinent, Commonwealth countries, and the Caribbean.
This sport really holds a place in the hearts of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities like what hockey represents to mainstream Canada. In fact, over 3 million Canadians identify as cricket fans, with 44% of them being People of Colour and 36% identifying as South Asian.
Cricket fans in Canada often wave two flags, representing their dual identity both their new and ancestral homes.
Positioning in the cricket market allows brands to think outside the box and offers an alternative to traditional sports sponsorship like hockey, soccer, and tennis and enable them to engage with new multicultural audience on a global scale.

Becoming a Cricket sponsor: a brand-new visibility opportunity

Brands can benefit from a visibility never reached before by being featured in Cricket events far beyond those traditionally used in sponsorship.
Cricket International tournaments such as the One Day International and Twenty20 Cricket World Cups, are marquee events that draw significant viewership.
For example, the India-Pakistan match is historically the most viewed cricket match annually and the International Cricket Council is expecting record viewership and attendance numbers for this summer’s India v Pakistan match in New York City. As said above, the Cricket World Cup is being played in North America for the first time this summer and Canada has qualified for the T20 event for the first time and are grouped with India, Pakistan, Ireland, and the United States.
Brands can also take advantage of upcoming Olympic Opportunities: Cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics as it provides a platform for them to connect with new customers through pre-arrival benefits and international viewership, reinforcing Canada’s standing on the global stage.

Create and nurture new Brand Affinity and Community Engagement with Cricket fans

As cricket continues to grow in popularity, largely due to the rapid expansion of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities, brands investing in cricket have the chance to cultivate relationships that resonate deeply with these communities.
Brands can have a positive Community impact and roll out the welcome mat for new Canadians, connecting with their passion points and building lasting affinity.
Working with cricket athletes and influencers, as well as creating shoulder content and new themes, offers new inventory and fresh perspectives to reach audiences and develop community engagement.
Canadian brands can reach global engagement, from national to international scales, following the example of Coca-Cola’s investment in Canada’s national cricket team and its role as a tournament sponsor.

In a nutshell, why is Cricket a wonderful strategic opportunity for brands?

Cricket’s rising tide in Canada offers an exciting arena for brands to engage with multicultural communities, connect with new audiences, and forge meaningful partnerships. With major events like the 2024 Cricket World Cup, Major League Cricket in the United States and the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, Cricket presents invaluable opportunities for strategic sponsorships and brand growth. By aligning themselves with cricket, brands can build affinity with new customers, create long-term relationships, and ride the momentum of a sport that is rapidly expanding across Canada and beyond.

Click here to go to our March 19, 2024 webinar page on the subject

Jason Harper is Senior Account Director for Sports and Strategic Initiatives, Ethnicity Matters
He is a seasoned Sports Business and Media Executive with a rich international portfolio in project management, corporate communications, marketing, and event management. His expertise is marked by a journey through the dynamic world of sports, particularly in the realm of cricket in Canada.