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LA28 Sports director hails Virat Kohli’s global stardom as cricket makes Olympic comeback after 128 years

Campriani pointed out the impact of athletes like Virat Kohli, whose immense popularity has been instrumental in bolstering cricket's appeal, especially among the youth.

Cricket has officially earned its spot in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, embracing the T20I format. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), during its 141st session, also gave the nod to other sports for inclusion—squash, baseball/softball, lacrosse, and flag football.

Campriani praises Virat Kohli’s popularity

Niccolo Campriani, Italy’s former Olympic champion shooter and LA28’s sports director, emphasized the global influence of cricket, currently ranked as the world’s second most popular sport with an estimated 2.5 billion fans worldwide. He underlined the commitment to growing cricket in the US, citing the launch of Major League Cricket this year and the upcoming T20 World Cup in the US and West Indies.

Virat Kohli’s global presence

Campriani pointed out the impact of athletes like Virat Kohli, whose immense popularity has been instrumental in bolstering cricket’s appeal, especially among the youth. Virat Kohli, the third-most followed athlete globally, boasts an impressive 340 million followers on social media, surpassing even the combined following of LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Tiger Woods.

Here is what Campriani says about Virat Kohli

“We also have the T20 World Cup next year in the United States and the West Indies,” Campriani told reporters, referring to the T20 World Cup next June. “Also, we are establishing a strong digital presence to keep the game interesting for the youth and cricket provides a unique platform for that. My friend Virat (Kohli) is the third most followed sportsperson in the world on social media with 340 million followers. That is more than LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Tiger Woods combined, Campriani added.

“We are thrilled to welcome the world’s second most popular sport with an estimated 2.5 billion fans worldwide. Some of you would be wondering why in LA. The commitment to grow cricket in the US is real and it is already happening with the launch of Major League Cricket this year, which exceeded expectations,” Campriani said on Virat Kohli’s popularity.

Interestingly, cricket made an appearance during the 1900 Olympics in Paris, where England emerged victorious against France in the final. This resurgence of cricket at the Olympics is anticipated to significantly elevate the IOC’s broadcast deal, particularly with India, showcasing the sport’s burgeoning influence. Reports suggest that the IOC’s broadcast deal with India could yield approximately 150 million pounds for the 2028 LA Olympics, a substantial increase from the 15.6 million pounds spent during the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Cricket returns to Olympics after 128 years

Thomas Bach, the President of the IOC, joyously announced the inclusion of cricket and four other sports following a favorable vote from the Executive Board. A mere two out of the 99 IOC members opposed the inclusion of these five sports in the eagerly awaited LA Olympics of 2028.

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