Taking the lead and leaving all other sports behind, it appears cricket has surfaced as Canada’s highest-viewed sport. Sports like Stanley Cup Finals, Super Bowl and MLB World Series have been left behind in the race, according to CulturaliQ, an agency that launched in-depth research by looking into more than five million cricket fans.
Brampton is a possible home to a cricket stadium, which could also be a testament to this reality as the viewers, often driven by South Asian, West Indian/Black fandom, pour in the numbers for the sport. The recent wave of immigration is another contributing factor to this development.
“For a global brand, there’s an incredible opportunity to engage with Canada’s fastest growing ethnic community, South Asian newcomers, simply by recognizing their sport of passion, cricket,” said John Stevenson, study lead and founder of CulturaliQ.
The study also revealed that, like other sports, including hockey, baseball and football, cricket is often watched in a group setting, and 77% of South Asian respondents watch games as a family and make it a special event. The number of registered cricket players in Canada is 38,186, who play around 5500 matches across the country. The cricket fans, 82% of South Asians and 62% of the Black population have multiple tertiary-level degrees.
Raza Akmal, who moved to Canada 15 years ago, shared that cricket is an important part of his life and regularly hosts screenings at home.
“My friends, mostly of South Asian origin, and I often gather to watch series and matches, and I host a screening when it is time for the final. We bring in food and have our parties with our families while watching the game,” he said.
With Brampton home to North America’s largest community cricket league with registered 4000 players, this can also translate raking in big business.
Milton’s population is ethnically diverse. According to the 2016 census, prominent ethnic groups include South Asian (20.8 percent of the population).
“Milton is going to benefit from this stadium as we are not far from Brampton,” said Fiaz Ahmad, a founding member at Milton Cricket Club.
“The cost per match rights for the Indian Premier League is second only to the NFL, with some 600 M viewers tuning in, ” said Jason Harper, a cricket fan and a study co-lead.
Stevenson has a long personal connection with the sport, having played on school and club teams as a youth. His passion for this project was also driven by a gap in insights on cricket fans in Canada and the massive marketing potential for brands that effectively engage with these consumers.
By Shazia Nazir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Milton Reporter
Original Published on Mar 26, 2023 at 21:30