Did you know Bentonville has 18 cricket teams? Neither did Whispers. But according to The Wall Street Journal, which recently covered a match between PepsiCo Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. — with Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi and Walmart’s Doug McMillon in attendance — that’s indeed the case.
They play on baseball diamonds because Bentonville, with all its resources and energy, still has yet to build a cricket complex for the legion of internationals who work at Walmart and its affiliated vendors.
But it might be time for Bentonville to consider putting a cricket field in the public parks plan, or for the private sector to build one of its own, because cricket isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Cricket is the world’s second most popular sport, while Walmart, in terms of sales, is the world’s largest retailer. Those two forces will continue to collide, meaning cricket will continue to be played in Bentonville.
Reading the WSJ article, what jumped out to us was the fact that Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, was not only at the match, but instigated it. Consistently ranked by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in the world, Nooyi was obviously in town to talk business with McMillon. But still, as a recreational aside, how nice was it for Nooyi, a native of cricket-crazed India, to watch a match?
As Bentonville continues to reinvent itself as a destination for arts and culture, perhaps it needs to consider adding a pitch and field for cricket. It’s a pretty popular sport. Just ask Nooyi.