Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar calls for New York City to be chosen as World Cup host


NEW YORK CITY (July 19, 2023) – Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar (D-AD 38) released an open letter to Greg Barclay, Chairman of the International Cricket Council, to discuss the necessity of selecting New York City as host of the 2024 Cricket World Cup. New York City is the birthplace of international cricket competition, having hosted the first ever international cricket match in history. The World Cup would take place on the 180th Anniversary of this famous match between US and Canadian national teams. New York City is also the epicenter of cricket in America, home to 100 cricket clubs and 59 cricket grounds.

As the first Indian American woman elected to New York State Office, Assemblywoman Rajkumar is a longstanding supporter and fan of South Asia’s most popular sport. When visiting India as a child, the Assemblywoman played cricket with her cousins. As Assemblywoman, she helped pass legislation for New York State to sanction cricket, and was Guest of Honor at local cricket matches.

The ICC World Cup would be an economic boon to New York City. Cricket is the most popular sport in the world after soccer, with about 2.5 billion fans worldwide. The Cricket World Cup is one of the most watched competitions in the world, having attracted as much as 93,000 fans and 1.6 billion viewers for a single game. This is a viewership approximately 14 times greater than the Superbowl. The last World Cup generated more than $450 million in economic activity for the host, about 30% more than the impact of an entire Mets season.

The full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Mr. Barclay,

On behalf of tens of thousands of New York cricket fans, I write to implore you to select New York City as the host for the ICC World Cup. I am a proud supporter of cricket, having played the sport as a child with my cousins in India. As the first Indian American woman elected to New York State Office, I see firsthand the incredible popularity of cricket in the South Asian American community. I have attended multiple cricket matches as Assemblywoman, and helped pass historic legislation for the New York State Athletic Commission to sanction cricket in our State.

As the epicenter of cricket in the United States, New York City is the ideal host of the World Cup. We are home to an estimated 100 cricket clubs, 59 cricket grounds, and numerous leagues. Even the NYPD operates its own youth cricket league. New York City also proudly boasts the oldest continuously operating cricket club in America, Staten Island Cricket Club, which was founded in 1872.

Our love of cricket is due in no small part to New York City being the cross-section of the world. We have welcomed people from all nations where cricket is a national pastime. Our City is home to the largest South Asian community in the Western Hemisphere, and some of the largest West Indian, British, Australian, New Zealander, Emirati, and African diaspora communities. Every World Cup team has a fanbase in New York City, for whom watching their favorite cricketers in-person will be a dream come true.

Selection of New York City would also commemorate our deep history of cricket. New York City hosted the first ever international cricket match in the world in 1844, when the American and Canadian national teams played an exhibition match. Hosting the World Cup in New York City exactly 180 years later would bring the history of international cricket competition full circle.

This is only one facet of cricket’s history in New York City. We hosted the first ever documented cricket match in North America in 1751. New York also hosted the famous 1859 United States vs. England match, the first time ever an English team played in the United States, and one of the most widely-reported sporting events in American history up to that time. Even today, New York City continues making cricket history, becoming one of six cities with a club in Major League Cricket. We are especially proud that New York’s club is a subsidiary of the legendary Mumbai Indians, and I will provide any help needed to ensure the construction of a cricket stadium in our City.

New York City’s love of cricket and historic connections to the game make us unquestionably the right choice to host the World Cup. It would be my esteemed pleasure to discuss further with you the diverse communities of New York who will be exhilarated to witness the greatest cricket competition in their own backyard.

Very Truly Yours,

Jenifer Rajkumar
Assemblywoman, 38th District

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