HKS to design Texas cricket stadium


HKS will design cricket stadium in Texas Image: MLC & HKS

North Texas (US) is home to professional teams from nearly every major sport – and soon it will be home to a new one.

The ‘Dallas Innovates’ stated that with Major League Cricket (MLC) expecting a full season of play next year, local investors Anurag Jain and Ross Perot Jr. have joined a $44 million combined Series A and A1 funding round to build out the league’s infrastructure.

Major League Cricket (MLC) is the first professional Twenty20 cricket league in the world’s largest sports market. MLC, which is exclusively sanctioned by USA Cricket, represents the most ambitious and transformational venture ever undertaken in the American cricket landscape.

The fledgling US league represents one of the most-watched sports in the world.

Said Jain, Managing Partner at local venture Capital firm Perot Jain, in a statement, “The ceiling for cricket’s growth in the United States is incredibly high, with the passion for the game at the grassroots level I’ve observed in Texas proof of its potential. The plans MLC have laid out to develop infrastructure and build a foundation for professional cricket to thrive nationwide puts the sport on a tremendous trajectory, and I’m excited to support this vision.”

Building the infrastructure

The ‘Dallas Innovates’ further stated that in addition to the new funding round, which also included Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as an investor, the MLC said it has received a further $76 million in commitments over the next 12 months.

The total of more than $120 million will largely go toward building cricket-focused stadiums and training facilities for the planned six teams that will play in the league, as well as for a developmental league.

Cricket comes to North Texas

The MLC will focus on the Twenty20 format of the game, a shortened version first introduced in 2003. The league’s initial kickoff in 2021 was postponed due to the pandemic and to allow for the redevelopment of Grand Prairie’s (Texas) AirHogs Stadium, the former home of the Texas AirHogs, a now-defunct independent pro baseball team.

The 15,000 (planned)-capacity AirHogs Stadium is a stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas (US). After renovation it will be used for cricket as the home of the United States national cricket team.

The noted sports architect HKS will transform the AirHogs ballpark into a world-class stadium with major event capacity, seating expandable to 20,000 and outstanding luxury and premium hospitality space.

Mark A. Williams, Global Director of Venues, HKS, US, is a Member of Coliseum – Global Sports Venue Alliance.

Upon completion in Spring 2023, the Grand Prairie Stadium will be the leading venue for cricket in the United States, the MLC informed.

‘Perfect site’

In addition to converting the baseball diamond into a cricket pitch and increasing the stadium’s seating capacity to 7,000 permanent seats, the Grand Prairie site will house USA Cricket, the governing body for the sport in the United States, men’s and women’s national teams, along with a “premier high-performance center”. The stadium will also host international tournaments as USA Cricket seeks to become a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) by 2030.

USA Cricket and MLC said they chose Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Metropolitan Area (DFW) as the home for their first stadium due to its large Southeast Asian community. The sport is popular in the region. The pay-per-view provider of cricket in the US claims that DFW is a top viewership region.

The MLC is also planning on having franchises in places like Redmond, Washington, San Jose, California, and Morrisville, North Carolina.

MLC Co-Founders Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan had said in a statement when the Grand Prairie lease was signed in 2020, “Grand Prairie’s centralized location in the United States and the thriving Texas cricketing community, allied with the quality of the facility, made it the perfect site for us.”

‘Surprising fact’

The popularity of cricket has been building for years in North Texas.

A “surprising fact” according to the DALLAS Relocation and Newcomer Guide: Plano is home to the largest collection of cricket fields in the Southwest. Local clubs have boosted the sport in the City with a season that lasts from March until October.

‘Play to win’

The investment in MLC comes as Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has made headlines for his plans to bring a new professional team to the City, while noting that many of the teams that bear the City’s name don’t practice or play within the City limits. A couple of weeks ago, Johnson announced the formation of a new City Council Committee to recruit a professional team to the region.

The Committee, which Johnson will chair, will look at things such as public ownership models for professional sports franchises and renovating the Cotton Bowl for use by the National Football League (NFL).

Johnson wrote in a memo announcing the new committee, “The City of Dallas boasts incredible assets and presents amazing opportunities for any professional sports franchise. It is long past time for the City of Dallas to play to win these franchises and events. That means we must be more proactive, assertive and strategic. And we must develop a gameplan that enhances our competitiveness internationally, nationally and within our own region, which is the fastest-growing major metropolitan area in the United States.”

The 92,100-capacity Cotton Bowl is an outdoor stadium in Dallas, Texas, United States. Opened in 1930 as the Fair Park Stadium, it is on the site of the State Fair of Texas, known as Fair Park.

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