Major League Cricket has revealed some major players in the business and tech communities intend to spearhead funding for the recently launched league. Led by Microsoft, a Series A and A1 totaling €42 million (approximately US $44 million), plus an additional €72.6 million (US $76 million) are being committed.
Other lead investors include Madrona Venture Group which has specialized in seed and early stage investing since 1995.
The combined €114.6 million (US $120 million) will be earmarked largely for infrastructure efforts – namely top-of-the-line cricket-specific training centers and stadiums. A facility in Redmond, Washington known as Marymoor Park has been mentioned, along with a former soccer venue and minor league baseball stadium called AirHogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Other targeted sites include improvements to an existing space in Morrisville, North Carolina and a vacant parcel of land totaling 20 acres in Irvine, California southeast of Los Angeles for a 10,000-seat location.
Major League Cricket hopes to transform the sport’s image from one thought of almost entirely in international circles to one that is far more accessible worldwide.
Madrona and Microsoft both with roots in the Seattle-area have expressed a keen interest in expanding beyond the estimated 3,500-person existing cricket community and three adult cricket leagues.
Youth programs have experienced a roughly 500-person increase in participation in recent years. The upstart Seattle thunderbolts, with backing from some tech investors, commenced play in 2021 too.
If successful, the Marymoor Cricket Community Park would serve as the host for other professional cricket events like the U.S. National Team, a potential World Cup, and Major League Cricket itself. Inclusion of cricket in the 2028 Olympics to be held in Los Angeles is not out of the question too.
Major League Cricket will specifically focus on the T20 community, which for cricket novices indicates a limit of 20 overs of gameplay. Traditional cricket play has no gameplay limits and often can require multiple days to complete a single match. Since its founding in the early aughts, T20 play is felt by many to be far more appealing to a younger audience with shorter attention spans, which in turn might be more conducive to attracting a heightened level of interest in cricket overall.
The fundraising news occurs roughly three years after word emerged of USA Cricket’s vision to rain US $1 billion to expand the sport domestically.
Match play for Major League Cricket will begin in 2023.