Major League Cricket have announced today the dates for their inaugural season.
The historic first Major League Cricket game will take place on July 13, 2023, at Grand Prairie Stadium in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex city of Grand Prairie, Texas. Spanning 18 days, the inaugural MLC season will feature 19 total matches between teams representing Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Seattle and New York City.
“Next summer, the eyes of world cricket will be on the launch of Major League Cricket, with the stars of the game competing over three weeks of fast-paced T20 action,” Justin Geale, MLC Tournament Director, was quoted saying in the announcement. “The launch of MLC will transform American cricket and provide one of the best platforms in the sport for the world’s most elite players to showcase their skills while also fast-tracking the development of domestic talent to feature in the league.”
The 18 day window likely means good news for those hoping to see big International stars play in Major League Cricket. With the southern hemisphere in the middle of winter, and the International calendar fairly free, aside from the Ashes in England, fans can begin to speculate realistically about the stars they want to see playing alongside American domestic cricketers, who now have two years of Minor League Cricket behind them.
The Grand Prairie venue, currently under major reconstruction totalling $20 million, was once the home of the minor league baseball Texas Air Hogs, and is set to open in the spring of 2023 with a capacity of 7,200. Construction has commenced, and a ceremony today marks the installation of the playing pitch. The new cricket specific stadium will feature 1,000 club and premium seats, with the ability to expand capacity to 15,000 for major events. Grand Prairie will likely be a featured venue in the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2024, which will be staged in the United States and Caribbean.
Recently hired MLC curator David Agnew has been tasked with creating the playing field and pitch at Grand Prairie. Agnew’s resume includes time curating Seddon Park in New Zealand, working in the Caribbean Premier League, both renditions of Canada’s Global T20, and building the pitch square at Church Street Park in Morrisville, North Carolina ahead of the 2018 ICC Americas T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Grand Prairie Stadium will serve as the primary venue for the inaugural season of Major League Cricket, and will be the home of the Dallas MLC franchise going forward. MLC has retained HKS as project architects. The firm was involved in the design of Super Bowl LVI site SoFi Stadium, AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, and Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia, which recently hosted India vs South Africa in the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Manhattan Construction Company, builders of AT&T Stadium and Texas Rangers home venue Globe Life Field, is managing the construction.
Grand Prairie Mayor, Ron Jensen, was quoted in the announcement, saying “Grand Prairie Stadium will be the best cricket venue in the United States upon its completion. This venue will be a huge asset to the Grand Prairie community, bringing Major League Cricket, international cricket and potentially the 2024 ICC T20 Men’s World Cup to Grand Prairie allowing fans here to experience a world class sport in action.”
The team name of the Dallas franchise and the other five franchises will be announced in early 2023, along with any additional venues. MLC have previously announced plans for a 10,000 seat stadium in Irvine, California, in partnership with Shah Rukh Khan, and have secured exclusive negotiating rights with Santa Clara County, with their sights set on building in San Jose.
Two seasons of Minor League Cricket have preceded the launch of the Major League, featuring 26 teams, coast to coast, and 200 games per season, spanning ten weeks. The unprecedented scale and length of Minor League Cricket should help prepare MLC selectors for drafting the best domestic talent on offer.
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