Major League Cricket (MLC) has agreed terms to develop its second “world class” cricket stadium in the United States, with the latest facility set to be located in San José.
MLC and the County of Santa Clara have announced the approval of an exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) to move forward with lease negotiations and design approvals to develop a stadium on a 14-acre parcel of the Santa Clara Fairgrounds site.
The two parties said the development would see a “significant multi-million dollar investment” by Major League Cricket for stadium construction, with MLC planning to work with HKS architects to design the venue.
The ENA outlines key dates and obligations over the next 12 months for both Major League Cricket and the County to agree to terms and gain the approvals required for the construction of a stadium with a maximum capacity of 15,000.
The two parties said the location and its demographics make the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds (pictured) suited perfectly for the development of a marquee home for the world’s second-most popular sport, with one of America’s largest cricket fanbases located in the Bay Area.
The stadium is a key part of the proposed redevelopment of the Fairgrounds site, located in the heart of Santa Clara County and San José. The stadium will be home to MLC’s Bay Area franchise and serve as a key hub for the US national teams. It would also be a potential host venue for major international cricket events.
USA Cricket is expected to bid for future men’s and women’s World Cup tournaments, with the 2024 men’s T20 World Cup already set to be co-hosted by the United States and the West Indies. The International Cricket Council (ICC) is also bidding for the inclusion of cricket in the 2028 Olympic Games to be held in Los Angeles.
“Cricket is a sport that’s increasing in popularity in the US and Santa Clara County,” said Otto Lee, County of Santa Clara District 3 Supervisor. “The addition of an international cricket venue to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds would help attract large numbers of visitors from around the world to the region. We look forward to finalising plans with Major League Cricket to move forward with this exciting development for Santa Clara County.”
Paraag Marathe, chair of USA Cricket, added: “Major League Cricket’s plans for an international-grade cricket stadium in one of the country’s most vibrant and diverse metropolitan regions adds to the fantastic momentum for cricket’s growth nationwide.
“The Bay Area – and Silicon Valley in particular – is an ideal location for this development that could serve as a potential venue for future major international events and as a home stadium for USA national team matches.”
The stadium plans include state-of-the-art training facilities, locker rooms, luxury suites, dedicated parking, concessions, and an international-grade pitch to meet ICC accreditation and allow the venue to host the highest levels of international cricket competitions.
The County has been seeking to revitalise the Fairgrounds, with the land having been underutilised for a number of years. In 2019, the Board of Supervisors voted to assess options for the land, including a cricket field, county park, a hotel and baseball stadium, as part of a vision to create a space for public events and recreation.
Supervisor Cindy Chavez told San José Spotlight that the County is also completing negotiations with Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise the San Jose Earthquakes to use part of the Fairgrounds for a training centre.
Major League Cricket, America’s first professional T20 cricket competition, is expected to include six teams in major cities across the country, with an intention to launch in the summer of 2023.
The plans for development in Santa Clara follow the already-announced stadium approved for construction in Grand Prairie, Texas.
In November 2020, MLC reached an agreement with the City of Grand Prairie to develop the sport’s first world-class stadium in the United States.
MLC, USA Cricket’s exclusive partner for the development of a professional T20 league in the country, received approval from the Texan city on a long-term lease agreement to begin an extensive redevelopment of AirHogs Stadium. HKS is also engaged with this project.
Image: Major League Cricket