Major League Cricket

Major League Cricket (MLC) is an upcoming professional Twenty20 cricket league in the United States. Operated by American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) and sanctioned by USA Cricket, it plans to begin play in 2023, with six teams in major U.S. cities under a single-entity model. In 2021, the development league for MLC, Minor League Cricket (MiLC), completed its inaugural season, which was contested by 27 franchise-based teams.

Major League Cricket
Upcoming season or competition:
Current sports event 2023
Major League Cricket.png
SportCricket
FoundedJanuary 2019; 3 years ago (January 2019)
Inaugural season2023
Owner(s)American Cricket Enterprises
No. of teams6
CountryUnited States
Related
competitions
Minor League Cricket
Official websitemajorleaguecricket.com

HistoryEdit

There have been various attempts to hold a Twenty20 (T20) cricket league in the United States, such as the short-lived Pro Cricket (which played a single season in 2004),[1] and the American Premier League, a proposed league in partnership between the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) and New Zealand Cricket, modeled after domestic T20 competitions.

In January 2019, USA Cricket was approved as the new governing board for cricket in USA,[2] replacing the USACA, which had been expelled from the International Cricket Council in September 2017 due to governance issues.[3]

The new body set a goal for cricket to reach wider, mainstream popularity in the country, where it has typically been considered a niche international sport.[4][5]

In November 2018, USA Cricket announced that it was seeking partners to establish a domestic T20 league in the country by 2021, with goals to "engage existing fans and grow new ones", and spur "sustainable development of cricketing infrastructure across the United States".[1] In May 2019, USA Cricket accepted a bid by American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) for a $1 billion investment, covering the league and other investments benefitting the U.S. national teams. Its partners include Satyan Gajwani and Vineet Jain of The Times Group, and Willow TV founders Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan.[6][7]

In an annual general meeting on February 21, 2020, it was stated that USA Cricket planned to launch Major League Cricket in 2021, and a 22-team development league known as Minor League Cricket that summer as a prelude.[8] Minor League Cricket was officially announced the following week, with plans to host a nine-week, 170-game season beginning July 4.[9] However, it was postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.[10][11]

In October 2020, USA Cricket reaffirmed plans to launch Major League Cricket in 2022 as part of its "foundational plan" for 2020–23.[12] On December 1, 2020, it was announced that the IPL's Kolkata Knight Riders (co-owned by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan) would invest in ACE.[13][14] In May 2021, the launch of Major League Cricket was delayed to 2023 due to COVID-19 and to provide additional time to develop facilities.[15]

In May 2022, Major League Cricket announced that they had acquired funds of $120 million as part of its Series A and A1 fundraising rounds.[16] Investors committing to MLC featured the likes of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ross Perot Jr., Anand Rajaraman, Shantanu Narayen and more.[17] MLC plans to use these funds to mainly build stadiums and first-class facilities in the hopes of accelerating cricket's development across the United States.[18][19]

TeamsEdit

MLC is expected to begin with six teams; the league will use a single-entity structure under all teams are owned by ACE, with investor-operators for each team who hold stakes in the company.[20] It hopes to expand to eight teams in the future, similar to other T20 leagues around the world.[21]

USA Cricket's CEO Iain Higgins identified Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, and San Francisco as markets where the sport was most popular.[22] On November 18, 2020, it was announced that ACE would lease AirHogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas—home of the former Texas AirHogs independent baseball team—and convert it to a cricket-specific facility that will host a Dallas-based team in Major League Cricket.[23][24]

In March 2022, ACE discussed plans to invest $110 million in eight newly-constructed or renovated venues for the league and possible hosting of matches during the 2024 ICC Men's T20 World Cup (which the United States is co-hosting with the West Indies), including the aforementioned AirHogs Stadium, Church Street Park in Morrisville, Moosa Stadium in Pearland, Prairie View Cricket Complex in Prairie View, and new sites in Orange County, the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, and Marymoor Park in Redmond. The renovated venues have a budget of approximately $3 million each, while the three new west coast venues have a budget of $30 million each; ACE stated that the west coast venues would be completed by 2024, and will have a projected capacity of 10,000–20,000.[25][26]

Minor League CricketEdit

Minor League Cricket is a developmental league for Major League Cricket that completed its inaugural season in 2021 (delayed from 2020 due to COVID-19).[11] It consists of 27 franchise-based teams in four regional divisions.[27] Unlike Major League Cricket, Minor League Cricket uses privately owned franchises.[20]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "USA plan to launch their T20 League in 2021". ESPNcricinfo. November 27, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  2. ^ "USA formally approved to rejoin ICC as Associate Member under USA Cricket". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  3. ^ "USACA expelled by the ICC". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  4. ^ "New American governing body branded as USA Cricket". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  5. ^ Gladson, J.A.C. (September 26, 2017). "USA Cricket getting closer to becoming a new federation". Times of India. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  6. ^ "USA Cricket receives $1 billion boost to develop T20 league". ESPNcricinfo. May 25, 2019. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  7. ^ "Times Group: US T20 league to be launched in partnership with the Times Group". The Economic Times. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  8. ^ "USA targets hosting ICC global events in next cycle". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  9. ^ "USA Cricket Announce Franchise-based T20 Competition". Yahoo! Cricket. February 28, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  10. ^ "USA Cricket re-evaluating Major League Cricket debut timing due to Covid-19 concerns". SportBusiness. August 2, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Minor League Cricket Draft Announcement and Latest Update on Plans for 2020". USA Cricket. August 6, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  12. ^ "USA Cricket targets ICC Full Membership by 2030". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  13. ^ "Shah Rukh Khan's Knight Riders invests in US Major League Cricket | Business Standard News".
  14. ^ "Bollywood's Shah Rukh Khan buys into Major League Cricket". SportsPro Media. December 1, 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  15. ^ "USA's MLC T20 tournament pushed back to 2023 at AGM". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  16. ^ "Major League Cricket Secures $120M Funding to Drive American Cricket Development". Major League Cricket. May 18, 2022. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  17. ^ Halverson, Alex (May 18, 2022). "Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella leads investment to launch US pro cricket league". American City Business Journals. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  18. ^ Penna, Peter (May 19, 2022). "Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ross Perot Jr among investors committing $120 million to MLC". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  19. ^ Byers, Justin (May 18, 2022). "Major League Cricket Secures $120M to Expand in U.S." Front Office Sports. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  20. ^ a b "49ers helping USA Cricket to push niche sport into the mainstream". SportBusiness. November 11, 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  21. ^ "Major League Cricket Coming To North Texas". Texas Standard. September 14, 2021. Retrieved September 14, 2021. William Swann is vice president of corporate development for Major League Cricket... Swann says the league hopes to expand to eight teams later on.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ "Bollywood's Shah Rukh Khan buys into Major League Cricket". SportsPro Media. December 1, 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  23. ^ "Grand Prairie approves stadium redevelopment plan that could make the city a premier U.S. cricket destination". The Dallas Morning News. November 18, 2020. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  24. ^ "Former Dallas baseball stadium to become 'new home of USA cricket'". ESPNcricinfo. November 20, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  25. ^ "USA T20 franchise league MLC projected to spend $110 million on facilities ahead of 2023 launch". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  26. ^ "MLC STADIUM DEVELOPMENT TIMELINES AND ADDITIONAL VENUES ANNOUNCED". Major League Cricket. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  27. ^ "Player registration portal opened for inaugural Minor League Cricket". Cricbuzz. Retrieved October 17, 2020.

External linksEdit