Nov 16, 2022 - Sports

Major League Cricket to launch in the U.S. next summer

Illustration of a cricket wicket, ball and bat styled as a deconstructed US flag

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Major League Cricket will launch its inaugural season in July 2023, the league announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The world's second-most popular sport is finally making its major pro debut in the U.S., one year before America co-hosts the 2024 T20 World Cup.

Details: The six-team T20 league — a version of the sport where games last just two to three hours instead of the traditional five-day format — will feature 19 games played from July 13 to July 30.

  • The primary venue is a 7,200-person stadium outside Dallas, set to open next spring.
  • At least one more venue, in Morrisville, North Carolina, will be used this season.
  • Franchises are based in Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Seattle and New York, and the goal is for each team to eventually play in their home market.

The big picture: Many players will come from hotbeds like Australia and South Africa, but teams are also required to roster a set number of Americans — a way for the league to help grow cricket domestically.

  • Development academies, which already exist in 10 U.S markets, "are core to what we do," MLC co-founder Vijay Srinivasan tells Axios.
  • "One of the tenets of MLC is to provide a platform for U.S.-based players to compete with the best in the world, thereby improving the U.S. national team," adds Srinivasan.

The backdrop: While the talent pool may be lacking in the U.S., there's already an established audience here.

  • 4.5 million homes are subscribed to Willow TV, the American cricket channel Srinivasan co-founded in 2002.

The last word: "With the World Cup coming … we feel the onus is on us to show the world the U.S. is ready for cricket at the highest level," says Srinivasan.

Go deeper: Cricket sets sights on America

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