The Indian Premier League (IPL), cricket’s wealthiest and most flamboyant tournament, will soon be played in the United States of America.
The US will host matches between the regional Indian sides that compete in the Twenty20 competition by next year, said IPL chairman Lalit Modi.
“We hope to be able to provide the fans in the US the live experience of the IPL. We will start with a few matches in the US in the next 18 months or so,” The Times quoted Modi, as saying.
Modi has won plaudits and derision for taking the commercialisation of cricket to new levels. His plans to extend cricket’s ambit are also likely to be motivated by money.
America is home to the world’s most valuable advertising market and a large population with roots in cricketing regions such as India, Pakistan and the West Indies.
It is estimated that the US has 30,000 amateur players and the USA Cricket Association claims that there are 15 million American cricket fans.
Modi is betting that large numbers of them will pay to see the superstars of the IPL in action and splurge on merchandise.
Modi hopes that the Twenty20 format can compete with the thrills delivered by baseball and basketball.