Major League Cricket secures $120m investment to support stadium plans

Major League Cricket has completed an initial close of a $44m (£35.5m/€41.9m) Series A and A1 fundraising round, with an additional commitment of $76m in further fundraising guaranteed over the next 12 months to support the development of stadiums and training centres across the US.

Among the investors for the Series A and A1 fundraising round, which includes MLC’s seed funding round, were Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella and Madrona Venture Group managing director Soma Somasegar.

Other investors included Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayan, founding partners at Milliways Ventures and Rocketship VC; Sanjay Govil, founder and chairman of Infinite Computer Solutions and chief executive of Zyter; Anurag Jain, managing partner of Perot Jain; Ross Perot Jr, chairman of The Perot Group; Tanweer Ahmed, chief executive of PAK Foods and owner of Prairie View Cricket Complex; and the Baheti family, owners of YASH Technologies.

MLC is a new Twenty20 competition that is set to launch in 2023. The league said its $120m investment will primarily be dedicated to building “premier” cricket-specific stadiums and training centres.

It is hoped the investment in cricket infrastructure across the US will transform the landscape for the sport in the country. The US will co-host the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup alongside the West Indies, and USA Cricket is also expected to bid for future men’s and women’s World Cup tournaments.

Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan, co-founders of MLC, said: “The significant funding committed by an outstanding group of investors will allow Major League Cricket to build first-class facilities and accelerate the sport’s development across the country, bringing world-class professional cricket to the world’s largest sports market.

“This investor group comprises leading business executives and successful tech entrepreneurs who have led some of the world’s most prominent companies. They bring tremendous experience and expertise in support of MLC’s plans to launch a transformative Twenty20 league and establish America as one of the world’s leading homes for international cricket events.”

Jain added: “The ceiling for cricket’s growth in the United States is incredibly high, with the passion for the game at the grassroots level I’ve observed in Texas proof of its potential. I am proud to be part of a group of investors committed to rapidly accelerating cricket’s progress through Major League Cricket.

“The plans MLC have laid out to develop infrastructure and build a foundation for professional cricket to thrive nationwide puts the sport on a tremendous trajectory and I am excited to support this vision.”

Earlier this month, MLC announced the approval of an exclusive negotiating agreement with the City of Irvine to move forward with lease negotiations and design approvals for a new stadium on a 15-acre parcel of land at Great Park.

MLC will make a multi-million-dollar investment in the 10,000-capacity stadium, which will be designed by global architecture firm HKS. The stadium will serve as the home of MLC’s Southern California-based franchise.

In March, MLC announced timelines for multiple facility developments, including plans for additional new grounds, as part of its vision to introduce several leading venues for the sport in the US. The league’s goal is to have several cricket-specific venues ready for play by 2024.

Image: Major League Cricket/HKS