GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — Cricket might not be a very well-known sport for many in America, but North Texas is about to be home to some of the best cricket players in the world.
Major League Cricket (MLC) announced Tuesday the dates for its inaugural season in the summer of 2023, which will take place in Grand Prairie.
The league’s opening match will take place on July 13, 2023, at what will be the newly-constructed Major League Cricket venue, Grand Prairie Stadium. The MLC team is converting a baseball stadium into a cricket stadium.
The season will feature 19 matches played over 18 days. The first-ever MLC championship final will take place on July 30, 2023.
Corey Anderson is a former international cricket player who currently lives with his wife and family in the Dallas area. However, he grew up in New Zealand and started playing cricket as a young kid.
After retiring from the New Zealand team in 2020, he announced in 2022 he would be playing for the USA Cricket Team and also be one of the players in the MLC season in Grand Prairie.
"It's an exciting time to be involved with cricket," Anderson said. "And it's an exciting time to be in Dallas."
Six teams from major metropolitan areas – representing Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Seattle and New York City – will each have multiple global stars on their rosters alongside the best talent based in the United States. Games will be played in the Twenty20 (T20) format.
"It's a game that's always exciting," Anderson said. "There's always something happening. You're never going to get the same game twice. It's one of those sports that once you start watching it, coming to a game live is the best way to do it."
Justin Geale is the director of cricket for MLC. He said Grand Prairie has the type of infrastructure to support the players and the teams.
"What a place to do it," Geale said. "It's close to the airport. You have great hotels and infrastructure. There's also a really supportive local government. I think and I hope all my American friends love it. And I hope the general population will, too."
The stadium will be a 7,200-capacity venue’s playing pitch with construction set to be complete in spring 2023. Grand Prairie Stadium will be the competition’s primary venue for the 2023 season and home venue for Dallas’ MLC team. More details on the Dallas franchise – including its team name and identity – will be unveiled in early 2023.
"I think it fits with the profile of Grand Prairie," Geale said. "I think it fits with the sporting community around here."
MLC’s investor group includes Dallas-based investors Ross Perot Jr. and Anurag Jain.
“Grand Prairie Stadium will be the best cricket venue in the United States upon its completion,” Grand Prairie mayor Ron Jensen said in a press release. “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.”
Grand Prairie Stadium is the former home of the Texas AirHogs. The venue will feature 1,000 club and premium seats with the ability to expand to a capacity of over 15,000 for major events. It is expected to host matches at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2024, set to be co-hosted by the United States and the West Indies.
"I think just the spectacle of being a 360 game," Anderson said. "All around the ground. It's still fast-paced. Yes, it takes a few hours to still play. But it's fast-paced. There's always something happening."
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