Major League Cricket wrapping up renovations to Grand Prairie Stadium, season begins July - Rvpg media

Major League Cricket wrapping up renovations to Grand Prairie Stadium, season begins July

A professional cricket league playing matches in major U.S. cities is a dream that’s been years in the making for investors and fans of one of the world’s most followed sports.

That vision takes shape Tuesday in Grand Prairie with the ceremonial laying of a playing pitch at a former minor league baseball stadium being converted into the home of Dallas’ new Major League Cricket team.

It’s an effort backed by two of the area’s most successful businessmen, Anurag Jain and his investing partner Ross Perot Jr. They bought into a $44 million funding round that’ll help the league build facilities across the country.

On July 13, the first Major League Cricket match will take place in Grand Prairie in a 7,200-seat stadium where the Texas AirHogs baseball team used to play. Nineteen matches later, the league’s championship game will be played July 30.

Justin Geale, the league’s tournament director, said the announcement of the season shows backers’ and organizers’ belief in the sport. Cricket boasts a global fan base estimated at 2.5 billion – second only to soccer’s 3.5 billion followers.

Six teams – Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Seattle and New York City – will each stock their rosters with multiple global stars playing alongside U.S. cricketers. Team names and identities will be unveiled in early 2023.

“We’ve got a really unique opportunity here to bring the best players in the world out and this is going to be the place to play in Dallas,” Geale said.

Sports-rich Dallas, with five major league franchises and several minor league teams in various sports, is missing only professional cricket from its lineup, Jain said.

A rendering of Grand Prairie's cricket stadium.
A rendering of Grand Prairie’s cricket stadium.

Grand Prairie’s proximity to DFW International Airport will be a “huge asset” in drawing international travelers, he said.

“The cricket fan base is dedicated to the sport so I’m excited to see fans from all over the world travel to North Texas to watch,” Jain said. “The games will be televised from our stadium internationally. … I am confident having a venue to watch cricket locally will help the sport grow in popularity here, and I am looking forward to watching a new fan base rise within Texas.”

North Texas already has a large cricket community, Jain said, with recreational leagues in cities such as Plano and Irving.

The sport is especially popular in South Asian countries

such as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Over 220,000 Indian-Americans live in Dallas-Fort Worth, according to a study by the Indian American CEO Council and the Institute for Urban Policy Research at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Grand Prairie Stadium is being converted to a cricket-specific facility for $20 million with an addition of seats. The venue will feature 1,000 club and premium seats, and have the ability to expand to a capacity of over 15,000 for major events. Dallas-based HKS, known for designing iconic sports venues like SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and AT&T Stadium in Arlington, is the project architect.

In addition to Major League Cricket play, the stadium is expected to host matches at the International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Cup in 2024.

Joining Jain and Perot Jr. as investors in the league’s launch are Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Madrona Venture Group managing director Soma Somasegar and Milliways Ventures and Rocketship VC founding partners Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayan.

The league said it has commitments to raise an additional $76 million in the next year, giving it $120 million to launch. The money will be used primarily to build stadiums and training facilities for cricket players.

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