Five sports, including cricket and flag football, proposed for inclusion at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics were approved by the International Olympic Committee executive board Friday, leaving them with one last hurdle to seal their Olympic spots.
Organizers of the LA 2028 Games said this week that they wanted cricket, flag football, lacrosse, squash and baseball-softball added to the event.
Each host city, under IOC rules approved a few years ago, can request the inclusion of several sports for their edition of the Games.
"These proposals have been accepted as a package by the IOC executive board," IOC president Thomas Bach said at a news conference at the end of the executive board meeting. "Taking into consideration that these proposals and these sports are fully in line with the sports culture of our hosts in 2028, with the American sports culture, they will showcase iconic American sports to the world while bringing at the same time international sports to the United States."
The IOC session, starting Sunday, will now have to rubberstamp the board's recommendation.
Flag football is a less-violent cousin of America's most popular sport, one the NFL has been selling in Europe, Mexico and Japan for decades.
Flag football, in which "tackles" are made by pulling a flag off a belt worn by each player, would be a 5-on-5 affair played on a 50-yard field. There are no offensive and defensive linemen. At the World Games last year, the U.S. men won the gold medal but the women fell to Mexico in the final.
Cricket, which enjoys a massive appeal in India and a quickly growing global audience, is set for an Olympic return after appearing once at the 1900 Games. India is also considering bidding for future Olympics.
The Los Angeles Games proposal is for a six-team Twenty20 cricket tournament for men and women. T20 is a short format of the game.
"The inclusion [of these sports] ... will allow the Olympic movement to engage with new athletes and fan communities in the United States and globally," said Bach. "We see the growing popularity of cricket, particularly the T20 format.
"We are ready to welcome the world's best players of cricket to perform in the United States in 2028."
While all five sports' inclusion is only for one edition of the Games, they are banking on the boost provided by Olympic participation to spur growth as they look to remain an attractive product going into the next four-year cycle.
Baseball was featured in several previous Games. It was added to the Tokyo Olympics after being left off in 2012 and 2016 but will not be a part of the Paris Games next year.
Softball, the female counterpart to baseball, has appeared at five previous editions of the Summer Games and was also left off the Paris agenda.
Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.