Abu Dhabi T10 to spread the popularity of the sport globally

Published on: Mar 29, 2024

T10 cricket is no news by now. In fact, the end of 2023 recorded the success of the seventh edition of the Abu Dhabi T10 and marked another good season for the newest format of one of the most popular sports on the planet. The word ‘planet’ was carefully selected in the previous sentence, because cricket may be among the most popular games in the biggest geographical part of the world, but its popularity among the global population still has some way to go.

Traditional cricket nations have not really welcomed the shortest version of the already shortened format of cricket. T20 was also met with some concerns and suspicion back in 2003, but the tremendous success of the Indian Premier League did actually put an end to the whispers of doubt.

Despite the initial opposition, therefore, T20 became largely integrated into the cricket ecosystem, enjoying staggering viewership rates, incredible growth in the number of fans and supporters as well as an impressive increase in bets made by punters on gambling platforms or betting exchange sites in India.

Overall, the T20 format made cricket more popular across the world. If this is so, then what was the need that T10 was to address? If T20 was effective in dealing with the “weaknesses” of the traditional cricket formats -mostly being the duration of the games- why was there even a need to come up with a shorter version of the already short one?

The answer is rather simple, yet quite difficult to consider from the very beginning. “Cricket can never be too much”: this is something that is true not only for India -a nation that worships cricket just like a religion- but for every cricketing country around the globe. And how can we have more cricket, if we don’t manage to squeeze it in the very busy and overloaded cricket calendar? By creating an even shorter version, the T10 format.

Meanwhile, to have more cricket means also making cricket more popular in markets, not in the traditional cricketing ecosystem or introducing it to new markets. But this was only to be done if the games played would have appealing, attractive and compelling features that would -in no way- make viewers bored. T20 was the answer to the problem of being unable to have spectators hooked to the games. But it was not the answer to the need for spreading the popularity of cricket all across the world.

T10 cricket brought a fresh air to the sport. The T10 league became all about quality in the spectacle, mostly because it was designed to meet the needs and preferences of viewers more than it intended to become just another cricket league that would simply add further games to the schedule.

Reducing the number of overs per side and adding a lot of glamor, by relying on international big stars of cricket to have an astonishing league, was the main issue of the Abu Dhabi T10. Some believe that T10 is more like a cricket exhibition and less of an actual league – at least the way that cricket leagues have been designed, played, and promoted all those years.

As one of the chairpersons of T10 management noted in an interview, this new format is all about showcasing talent, in a speedy manner and with a lot of fun. The entertaining element in T10 is crucial, and this is probably what appears to be the most promising feature of the format, for spreading its popularity even in nations and markets that weren’t traditionally interested in the sport – having an interest only to the extent of placing wagers on betting sites and exchanges– or weren’t actually aware of the sport.

So, what we have now is a condensed format (meaning more excitement in a shorter duration) with more fun and entertaining elements, featuring international star players who only add to the prestige and the image of the sport all being poured into a new format that is thriving in the Abu Dhabi league. T10 cricket has assumed the role of cricket ‘ambassador’ and the truth is that it is doing a really good job in making the sport more accessible, available, and watchable for a big part of the global population that was largely indifferent up to now.

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