This year, Saudi Arabia’s expansion into global sports has disrupted professional golf, upended the soccer business and garnered the kingdom the 2034 World Cup. Now it's turning to cricket. Bloomberg News reported that Saudi Arabia proposed making an investment worth as much as $5 billion into the Indian Premier League, cricket’s most popular and lucrative event.
It is a tempting offer, but one that the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the IPL’s owner, should turn down if it values the future of the sport.
The problem is climate change. More than almost any other sport, cricket has already been affected by the extreme heat, precipitation and storms associated with a warming globe. Without drastic changes to emissions and the sport, the consequences for cricket will be dire. With its active support for expanding fossil fuel use, the Saudi government is the wrong partner for the IPL and global cricket to achieve these goals.