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Major League Cricket sets out expansion plans

Featured image credit: Major League Cricket

The US-based Major League Cricket has announced plans to expand to a 34-game season in 2025 as it was granted official List-A status by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The inaugural season last year had 19 games, while this year’s campaign will feature 25. The league currently has six franchises but there are also plans to eventually expand to 10 teams.

The List-A status has been awarded ahead of MLC’s second season, which commences on July 5, shortly after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup, which the US is co-hosting alongside the West Indies.

Discussing the league’s expansion plans, MLC chief executive Vijay Srinivasan told the Guardian: “It was always intended to be a 10‑team league. Studies show that we are a big enough country, with a big enough demographic to support 10 teams, so that’s our plan. We had 19 games in our first season, will have 25 in our second. I think we want to get to 34 next year, and just gradually keep expanding.”

The dates for this year’s MLC season will see it overlap with The Hundred, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)’s short-form competition.

Srinivasan added: “Ultimately for us our ideal calen­dar is to start much earlier, in the late spring or early summer. With the Indian Premier League ending in late May, I think our sweet spot would be to start in early June, which is when we have the school holidays in the US, and go into July. That’s how we would like to establish our window.”

MLC said the List-A status marks another “crucial milestone” in the growth of the league, and cricket more broadly in the US.

US games at the T20 World Cup will be played in Dallas, Florida and New York. Earlier this month, event organisers unveiled New York’s Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, a 34,000-seat temporary venue that has been built in partnership between the ICC and architecture and design firm Populous.

The two other US venues selected – Grand Prairie Stadium and Central Broward Park & Broward County Stadium – are established cricket grounds in the country. The redeveloped Grand Prairie Stadium (pictured) in Texas served as the primary venue for MLC’s debut season, which ran from July 13-30 last year. Central Broward Park & Broward County Stadium, located in Lauderhill, Florida, first opened in 2007.

MLC matches this season will be held at Grand Prairie Stadium and Church Street Park in Morrisville, North Carolina. The season will run from July 5-28.