Cricket in US through the lens of MLC



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Major League Cricket US venue developments Image: Major League Cricket

Major League Cricket (MLC) announced on March 17th its calendar for multiple facility developments with the aim of having several cricket-specific venues ready for play by 2024. Upon completion, the venues will also host world-class MLC action after the competition launches in 2023 and will bid to host games at the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup in 2024, one of the biggest events in global sport, to be co-hosted by the United States and the West Indies.

The ‘Major League Cricket’ stated that groundbreaking for MLC’s first premier venue located in Grand Prairie, Texas (US) will take place in April 2022 and work is set to begin mid-year in Morrisville, North Carolina, for completion of upgrades to Church Street Park by Spring 2023. Both venues will bid to host games at the World Cup. Enhancements to two venues near Houston, Texas, are also being explored to rapidly develop facilities capable of hosting Major League and World Cup events. In addition, MLC is working on engaging Broward County on upgrades to the 20,000-capacity Broward County Stadium, located in Southern Florida.

Major League Cricket (MLC) is a New York-based company dedicated to running a professional cricket competition within the United States, as well as developing and promoting the sport to raise its profile in North America.

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is the international championship of Twenty20 cricket. Organized by cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), the tournament currently consists of 16 teams.

The ‘Major League Cricket’ further stated that to develop venues for its franchises as soon as possible, the MLC is accelerating timelines for new cricket facility construction projects in San Jose, California, King County, Washington, and Orange County, California. This would provide first-class homes for the sport in future years, with the potential for completion by 2024.
 
This unprecedented infrastructure investment will transform the landscape for professional cricket and enable the United States to host global events over the next decade and beyond. As well as international games, world-class T20 action will be played annually with MLC bringing the best cricketers in the world to play in cricket-specific venues with natural turf wickets and first-class amenities for fans. The status and targeted timelines for each location is listed below:

Note: Swipe the screen (on the table below) from right to left to show the full content.
Location Major Event Capacity Current Status
Grand Prairie, TX 15,000-20,000 April 2022 groundbreaking and March 2023 completion
Morrisville, NC NC 4,000-5,000 Additional upgrades underway and March 2023 completion
Houston, TX 6,000-8,000 Additional upgrades planned and expected completion May 2023
San Jose, CA 15,000 Exclusive negotiating agreement in place to finalize lease and design
King County, WA 10,000 Motions of support for development passed by county and City Councils

 
Stated Sameer Mehta, Co-Founder, Major League Cricket, “This array of venue developments in areas with significant cricket-passionate communities comes as the International Cricket Council (ICC) has identified United States as its primary target market to expand the game with the award of co-hosting rights to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2024. MLC is committed to supporting that vision alongside its long-term partner USA Cricket and we’re excited to work together to transform the landscape and opportunities for cricket to rapidly develop across the country with this infrastructure investment.”

Upon completion of development in Spring 2023, the Grand Prairie Stadium will be the leading venue for cricket in the United States and will be a base for the USA Cricket National team, featuring a premier High Performance Center. The stadium near Dallas will feature more than 7,000 permanent seats, expandable to 20,000 for major events along with outstanding luxury and premium hospitality space.

As announced earlier this year, the MLC and the Town of Morrisville have partnered on a multimillion-dollar investment in the expansion of Church Street Park, upgrading the facility into an international-quality cricket venue. The venue’s permanent capacity will be expanded to over 3,500. The upgrades, to be complete by Spring 2023, will also include the installation of state-of-the-art broadcast infrastructure, additional parking and LED illuminated natural and artificial turf practice pitches and nets.

The MLC is also planning investments to enhance two cricket venues near Houston, Texas, the 2,000-capacity Moosa Cricket Stadium and the 10,000-capacity Prairie View Cricket Complex that would potentially allow both to be host candidate venues for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2024 and host other professional cricket events. More details on these upgrades will be provided soon.
 
Additional statuses for future venues for MLC and international cricket are as follows:

  • Development plans in San Jose, California, include a 12,000-capacity venue on a 14-acre parcel of the Santa Clara Fairgrounds in the San Francisco Bay Area. Conditional on a final agreement being reached this year with Santa Clara County, the stadium is aimed for completion by Spring 2024;
  • In King County, Washington, a state-of-the-art cricket facility is proposed for development at a 20-acre site located at Marymoor Park, only 20 minutes from downtown Seattle. The venue is intended to complement the park’s outstanding greenery, with a lightweight grass berm design expected to accommodate 4,000-6,000 spectators;
  • The MLC is also engaged with a potential location in Orange County, California, on the development of a cricket venue that could serve to host Major League Cricket and other international events, including cricket if the sport is included at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles; and
  • The MLC is playing a role in exploring the potential use of larger existing stadiums that can be repurposed to host major cricket events, giving the sport the opportunity to be showcased on large-scale stages in key markets.

 
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