OnlineCasinos365 found that Cricket is New Zealand’s second most popular sport after rugby. They revealed that 20% of Kiwis like Cricket based on nationwide surveys, TV viewing, participant rates, and crowd attendance. The statistics reflect Cricket’s growing popularity among men and women of all ages.
In this article, we will dive deeper into the subject by looking at how popular Cricket is among New Zealanders and, most importantly, why the game garners that much attention in the country.
How Popular Is Cricket in New Zealand
As we have already established, Cricket is one sport that has transcended from being a sport to a culture. So much so that Cricket is to New Zealand what Basketball is to the USA. The sport is so popular it is commonplace to find different households playing mock Cricket by setting driftwood stumps and playing over the fence.
2021 recorded an interesting milestone for Cricket in New Zealand and sports streaming in general. It was noted that the first six matches streamed live on TVNZ1 registered over 1.8million viewers.
More impressive was the fact that the Sports Spark viewers exceeded 240,000. For a small country that’s noted to have a total population of about 5 million people, it is more than impressive that ⅓ of that population was actively involved in streaming the first six games on the broadcast medium.
As a result of how popular the sport has grown to be, it is not surprising the sport gets a lot of support from the government, which is reflected in how well the representing teams have been doing in worldwide competitions.
Why Is Cricket So Popular?
A main reason that could be alluded to the sport’s popularity in New Zealand could be its history. The earliest introduction of Cricket to the Kiwis can be traced back to as far back as 1832. That year, it was set in the record books that the Anglican Evangelist Henry Williams organised a cricket match.
However, a decade later, a more organised match was played at Wellington, where scores were recorded. That event led to the sporadical acceptance of Cricket within New Zealand, so much so there was a rise of inter-club competitions – this was said to have happened in the late 19th century.
New Zealand’s debut in International Cricket would become a reality in the 1930s, when they became the fifth-test playing team, following teams like England, Australia, South Africa and England. Their first International game was said to be against England at Lancaster Park, which they lost by eight wickets. They would shuffle on till 1956 before they eventually recorded their first test victory.
New Zealand has become a phenomenon as far as International Cricket is concerned, with legends like Sir Richard Hadlee, Daniel Vettori, and Martin Crowe etched in the sands of time.
So far, the official New Zealand team have tried out in 29 ICC Men’s events between 1975 and the date, with six final appearances recorded and two titles won. Unsurprisingly, the team inspires so much pride from New Zealand fans across borders, and the sport has become more like a culture over time within the region.
What Is New Zealand’s Position in the Current Rankings
According to the latest ICC Test Rankings, New Zealand are currently placed 5th. While in the ICC ODI rankings, the official New Zealand team is placed 6th. New Zealand is also well represented in the top 6 spots for the Women’s Cricket rankings – both in the test and ODI.
Cricket Is a Culture in New Zealand That Will Never Die
Following what we have discussed, you can see the welcoming reception cricket receives among New Zealanders. More so, you can see how widely it has grown from being that sport sparsely played in the 19th century to becoming the top 2 most watched sport in New Zealand. We won’t be economical with the truth if we say Cricket has evolved to become a tradition in New Zealand.