The cricket culture in the United States of America (UAE) is expanding day-by-day, and recently, a major deal has made sure that the future of the fascinating sport in the country is pretty bright.
The USA Cricket has revealed that its commercial T20 franchise league partner, American Cricket Enterprises (ACE), has signed a 15-year lease to obtain AirHogs Stadium – a minor league baseball and soccer ground – located at Dallas in Texas.
The famous North Texas city is ready to get the status of Home of American cricket. The co-founder of ACE, Sameer Mehta, said that the desire for the venue is to host a Major League Cricket (MLC) – which aims to make cricket a leading sport in the country by creating a world-class national Twenty20 tournament.
Speaking about the epic ground, the $20 million stadia opened in 2008 and housed the Texas AirHogs (a minor league baseball team) for the last 13 seasons. However, due to COVID-19 pandemic, the AirHogs shut down in the summer of 2020.
ACE is now planning to spend at least $10 million to renovate the facility into a cricket-exclusive ODI-accredited turf wicket venue. It is expected to open by the summer of 2022.
“This is a watershed moment for us. We’re pretty excited. We’re going to put Grand Prairie on the global map because hopefully when we get World Cups and international events, this is going to be one of the key stadiums we’re playing matches in,” said USA Cricket chairman Paraag Marathe as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
“The flagship where we’re going to be first putting up our flag and announcing USA Cricket to the rest of the world is going to be right here in Grand Prairie,” Paraag added.
Excited to bring cricket to Texas: Grand Prairie Mayor
The concerned stadium will be transformed into an 8,000-seat venue and become the centrepiece to host major international cricket events. It is expected to co-host a T20 World Cup with the West Indies in the next decade.
Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen showed excitement about bringing cricket into Texas. He said that this sport is quite popular and growing rapidly, just like soccer 40 years ago.
“We are very excited about this opportunity to bring cricket to Texas by converting our minor league baseball stadium. Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world behind soccer, with a large and growing audience in the states. It reminded me of 40 years ago when soccer made a big splash in the United States,” said Jensen as quoted by Forbes.