Three years after gaining the rights to own and administer a flagship T20 league in the United States, American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) has announced that the first edition of Major League Cricket (MLC) T20 will take place between July 13 and July 30 of next year.
The announcement also announced that a total of 19 games would be contested between six franchise teams in a round-robin style, followed by knockout stages.
New York, Washington, DC, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle will be represented by six franchise teams. Earlier this month, ACE announced a $120 million investment from a group of high-profile corporate leaders, including Seattle-based Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
The Launch Of MLC Will Transform American Cricket: Justin Geale
The ownership structure of these franchises has yet to be finalized, but it has been learned that several IPL franchises are interested in acquiring the rights to these franchises. The announcement of the franchise owners is expected in early 2023, followed by the player draught in March.
“Next summer, the eyes of world cricket will be on the launch of Major League Cricket, with the stars of the game competing over three weeks of fast-paced T20 action,” said Justin Geale, MLC Tournament Director, who has also served as a Director of Cricket Operations at the IPL.
“The launch of MLC will transform American cricket and provide one of the best platforms in the sport for the world’s most elite players to showcase their skills while also fast-tracking the development of domestic talent to feature in the league.”
ACE is responsible for the construction of six state-of-the-art cricket stadiums as part of its deal with USA Cricket. ACE has announced huge plans to create additional facilities in Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco during the last year and a half.
The 7000-seat stadium in the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie is ready for action in the inaugural season, thanks to the recent installation of turf. With the rest of the stadium plans still in the works, it is highly likely that ACE will look to Morrisville’s Church Street Park and Houston’s Moosa Stadium to secure three venues for the 2023 season.
According to sources, the best player talent from around the world is available. White ball players from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and possibly the West Indies are likely to be free of commitments in the second week of July, according to the ICC’s FTP.
The MLC will be preceded by two seasons of Minor League Cricket, a 27-team semi-professional player pathway tournament that will test a slew of first-class players against local American talent.
With the recent influx of quality cricket talent into the country from full member cricket nations, as well as significant investments in youth development and tournaments such as the Minor League, ACE is confident in showcasing a high level of T20 cricket.