Major League Cricket adds Church Street Park to venue development masterplan

Major League Cricket (MLC) has announced its latest significant move to enhance cricket grounds in the United States by agreeing a multi-million-dollar public-private partnership with the town of Morrisville, North Carolina.

The deal will see the two parties jointly invest in the expansion of Church Street Park, upgrading the facility into an international-quality cricket venue.

The investment will see the addition of more than 2,000 permanent seats to the ground, increasing Church Street Park’s capacity to over 3,500. Upgrades will also include the installation of state-of-the-art broadcast infrastructure, additional parking and LED-illuminated natural and artificial turf practice pitches and nets.

The enhancements will allow Church Street Park to host MLC matches and serve as a flagship facility for USA Cricket’s national team games and training. The new-look venue would also meet the criteria necessary to host games for the 2024 men’s T20 World Cup, an event that will be co-hosted by the West Indies and United States. The US host venues are expected to be announced later this year.

Morrisville Mayor, TJ Cawley, said: “The passion for cricket is strong in the greater Morrisville region. This partnership with Major League Cricket provides a significant upgrade to the facilities at Church Street Park – adding additional amenities that support expanded use of the park, beyond cricket, for all residents.

“We look forward to our town hosting world-class cricket that will bring thousands of visitors to the region each year and put Morrisville firmly on the map as one of the premier professional cricket venues in America.”

Opened in 2015, Church Street Park features an LED illuminated natural turf pitch in a scenic setting at the heart of North Carolina’s Research Triangle region. It is located 15 miles from Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham.

The enhanced Church Street Park facilities will be available for community use, with the ground continuing to serve as the home of the Morrisville Cardinals in Minor League Cricket and for the Triangle Cricket League’s more than 2,500 players and 150 teams.

MLC last month agreed terms to develop its second “world class” cricket stadium in the US, with the latest facility set to be located in San José. MLC and the County of Santa Clara 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 outlined 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.

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.

Commenting on its latest venture, Vijay Srinivasan, co-founder of Major League Cricket, said: “Major League Cricket is delighted to be able to make a significant investment to further enhance Church Street Park and establish the venue as an outstanding professional cricket stadium and high-performance centre.

“The Town of Morrisville has embraced cricket for its community over many years, with Church Street Park a home for the sport since 2015. These upgrades will provide fantastic facilities for continued community play, USA Cricket’s national teams and for future Major League and international cricket events.”

The work on venue enhancements will begin in early 2022, with the full suite of infrastructure improvements expected to be completed by spring 2023.

Images: Major League Cricket