A Data-Driven Exploration of Cricket’s Popularity in Canada
- November 23, 2023
- SponsorPulse Staff
Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world, attracting a global audience of over 2.6 billion across +180 nations.
Get our cricket demographic infographic here.
Most recently, the beloved sport held its first professional cricket tournament (also known as Major League Cricket) in the United States in July 2023 — marking a significant stride in its path towards global adoption.
While some would’ve thought cricket wouldn’t succeed in the competitive landscape of professional North American sports, some evidence suggests cricket has been quietly making its mark in this region — particularly Canada.
SponsorPulse looked into the numbers to see where cricket stands among the diverse sports that captivate Canadian fans and their demographics. Here’s what we found.
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats
While cricket may not dominate the North American scene, some engagement numbers suggest cricket's steady rise in popularity in the last few years is evident.
According to SponsorPulse's comprehensive data, the Indian Premier League (IPL), Pakistan Super League (PSL), and ICC Cricket World Cup have collectively witnessed a growth of at least 4% in engagement since 2019, with the ICC leading the charge with an 8% surge in engagement in total in three years.
These numbers highlight the increasing popularity of major cricket properties in North America and a growing positive sentiment around the sport. But how does it compare to some of the other local sports?
Craving a Cultural Niche
As cricket enters a new market, we wanted to provide context and compare it to some of the region's existing, more popular properties.
Naturally, due to its presence in the region and level of popularity, baseball, hockey, and basketball come top-of-mind when comparing any sport to some Canadian-followed sports.
Baseball has been a longstanding cultural fixture in North America, hockey is recognized and declared Canada's national winter sport, and basketball, through the NBA, plays an essential role in Canada, mainly due to the Toronto Raptors.
According to SponsorPulse’s data, cricket’s engagement (17%) might not rival the NHL, NBA, and MLB yet with 58%, 43%, and 41%, respectively.
Still, it’s safe to suggest that solid backing from the beginning can help it establish a competitive presence in the region faster, especially compared to less popular sports.
According to SponsorPulse data, cricket’s 17% engagement rate in the region stands strong compared to more traditional American sports like boxing (31%), curling (30%), and the trio of gymnastics, skiing, and swimming (all at 28%).
But who engages with cricket anyway? Let’s look at their demographics.
A Diverse Demographic
Understanding the demographics of cricket enthusiasts in Canada provides a more nuanced perspective. We looked at the insights from the SponsorPulse platform and found the following takeaways:
Approximately 4 million people aged 13-64 engage with cricket annually in Canada. Out of those, 1.24 million enthusiasts follow it with intensity on a weekly basis.
Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia are the provinces most enamored with cricket in Canada.
The heartbeat of cricket resonates most strongly among males aged 25-34.
Interestingly, the Indian Premier League is the sports property that garners the most engagement from women in Canada.
Lastly, according to SponsorPulse, families of white ethnicity, particularly those with children and an income ranging from $100,000 to $199,000, are amongst the most engaged with the sport.
Beyond Geographical Boundaries
While many would argue cricket is mainly an Asian sport, the data paints a picture of cricket steadily gaining traction in North America, too, particularly in Canada. The rising engagement with significant cricket properties suggests that geographical boundaries do not confine the sport.
Brands keen on exploring untapped opportunities should take note of the subtle yet promising surge in cricket's popularity and the type of demographic that engages most with the sport.
Gaining valuable insights can guide your brand toward strategic and informed decisions in the dynamic world of sports sponsorship.
As the passionate cricket phenomenon continues to unfold, brands have the chance to align with a growing passion, capturing the hearts of a dedicated and diverse audience.
To delve deeper into the demographics shaping cricket's rise, download the cricket demographics cheat sheet from SponsorPulse.