When the Seattle Seahawks thrashed the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII, a record-setting television audience of 111.5 million people tuned in. It was the most-viewed television program in U.S. history.
Pretty amazing, right? But before we crown football the king of televised sports, let’s put it in perspective.
In 2011, India faced Pakistan in the semifinals of the ICC Cricket World Cup. How many people watched on television as India won by 29 runs? More than a billion.
I wrote a feature about a local amateur cricket club, the OKC Strikers, hoping to someday bring professional cricket to Oklahoma City.
The sport’s international success gives the Strikers hope their vision isn’t just a fantasy. And they have reasons to be hopeful:
— There currently isn’t a pro league in the U.S., but the the United States of America Cricket Association is hoping to change that, despite some setbacks.
— Indianapolis is set to unveil its World Sports Park this summer. It’s a 40-acre, $6 million complex that will support cricket, rugby, lacrosse, hurling and Gaelic football.
— In May, “Million Dollar Arm” opens in theaters nationwide. It’s a Disney movie, starring Jon Hamm, that tells the story of a sports agent scouting Asian cricket players to play Major League Baseball.
It all begs the question — could cricket catch on in Oklahoma City? Let us know what you think in the comment section.
Follow Kyle Fredrickson on Twitter: @kylefredrickson