Grand Prairie will become home to the U.S. governing body of the second-most-watched sport in the world following a $13 million stadium renovation in the North Texas city.
USA Cricket, in partnership with the newly founded Major League Cricket, will launch operations at the nearly 80,000-square-foot stadium of the former Texas AirHogs minor league baseball team, with alterations scheduled to be done by mid- to late 2022.
The privately funded project includes a new natural grass field, modifications to the existing 5,400 seating capacity and additional restrooms. Located at 1600 Lone Star Parkway, the facility will host one of the six inaugural Major League Cricket teams, the names of which have yet to be announced.
“There is a huge cricket fanbase in America that’s been starved of really strong domestic cricket being played in the U.S.,” said Major League Cricket vice president of corporate development William Swann.
Cricket, a bat-and-ball sport first played in England, is wildly popular across the world, especially in countries that were formerly British colonies, such as India and Australia. There are 2.5 billion cricket fans globally, according to WorldAtlas.
Bringing USA Cricket to the Dallas-Fort Worth area was an easy decision, Swann said, largely because of the strong cricket following in the region led by expats from countries where cricket is more prominent.
The area already boasts several club cricket teams through the Dallas Cricket League, which hosts men’s, women’s and youth leagues that compete at cricket grounds across North Texas. Players as young as 6 years old participate in coaching academies and tournaments. The league’s website says it has 2,500 active cricket players.
The Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium project has been in the works for nearly three years, said Marty Wieder, director of economic development for the City of Grand Prairie. The city owns the stadium and Swann is listed as the primary tenant.
Grand Prairie will ideally host the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams, as well as other international competitions, in addition to major league games. The U.S. is seeking a joint bid to host the 2024 Cricket World Cup, which Swann said could be highly lucrative for Grand Prairie.
Minor League Cricket, a U.S. developmental league, began playing its first games this summer and hosts a team at a McKinney facility called the Irving Mustangs.
Wieder said the city is eager to bring a permanent home for cricket to the area. With close proximity to DFW International Airport, the facility could boost the local economy, he said.
“From a major league aspect, to be able to somewhat be the birthplace of Major League Cricket is huge,” he said.