69% of UAE nationals love cricket: Survey
Among UAE nationals, cricket came second only to football as a preferred sport.
Cricket's popularity is striking in a demography that has historically been inclined towards football.
According to a pan-GCC YouGov survey commissioned by UAE Exchange, more than half (57 per cent) of the people participating in survey from the UAE are cricket fans, with 69 per cent of surveyed Emiratis following the game. To understand where cricket stands in terms of popularity, the sport was compared with other popular sports such as Football, Tennis, Formula 1 and Basketball.
"As the title sponsor of Asia Cup, Unimoni aims to engage with customers through a widely followed sport like cricket. Engagement is a two-way dialogue for us, which is why we commissioned a YouGov survey to understand how our audiences feel about cricket, and what they expect from the tournament," said Rahul Pai, Chief Operating Officer of Unimoni Group.
"The survey reflects the growing popularity of cricket in the UAE, with more than half of the respondents turning out to be fans of the game. It's really interesting to see that 41 per cent of respondents from the UAE chose cricket as their preferred sport. Among UAE nationals, cricket came second only to football as a preferred sport. This is an indicator of how the UAE has become a social melting pot that promotes the exchange of cultures, values and even sports," Rahul continued.
When asked which cricketer will emerge as the top player in the Unimoni Asia Cup, 22 per cent of respondents from the UAE voted for India's batsman Rohit Sharma, while 16 per cent and 12 per cent voted for Pakistan's bowler Hasan Ali and batsman Babar Azam respectively. Outside the two leading cricket clans, Afghanistan's bowler Rashid Khan picked up 8 per cent of the votes.
The first Asia Cup was hosted in Sharjah in 1984. The sport has since then seen significant increase in followership, resulting in increased investment in cricket facilities with the UAE becoming home to three state-of-the-art stadiums in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
"As a brand that facilitates seamless money movement across geographies, we are proud to be part of Asia Cup, sharing the excitement of cricket with fans in the UAE and around the world," Rahul concluded.
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