No, there’s no reason to believe eight US cities are getting $2.4B in cricket stadiums, jeez

You know, I’ve now seen a whole string of articles reporting that San Francisco, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Orlando, and Dallas are all going to get new cricket stadiums as part of a $2.4 billion dollar spending spree by the organizers of a new professional cricket league, and I feel it’s my duty to say: No, they’re not, everybody chill. At least, they’re not any more than when Global Sports Ventures announced it with a press release back in January, then proceeded not to announce any actual stadium plans over the next six months. Here’s an SBNation interview where GSV chair Jay Pandya talks about how starting a pro cricket league (note for anyone who actually cares about cricket: really a T20 league, which isn’t regular cricket) is totally something that could happen because some Americans traveled to Australia to watch the cricket World Cup and there were three exhibition games in the U.S. in 2015.

Not asked in that interview, or any of the recent articles: Why on earth should we take seriously a business plan that involves trying to earn back $2.4 billion in stadium investments by selling tickets to a version of cricket that most cricket fans don’t even like? It’d be kind of rude, I know, but that’s what journalists are there for, right?


21 comments on “No, there’s no reason to believe eight US cities are getting $2.4B in cricket stadiums, jeez

  1. You’re being a bit harsh on 20/20. It’s the most lucrative form of cricket and the biggest and wealthiest competition is the Indian Premier League. Most interest in cricket in the US is in Indian communities and it’s possible the they are large enough in these cities to sustain a pro-league. Probably not $2.5 billions worth though

    • There was a T20 pro league c. 2003 here in the USA. Sank like a rock after one season, and no one even bothered to turn up to play the scheduled all star game. I don’t see it succeeding in a second attempt unless Sachin Tendulkar personally captains and bats at #3 for every team.

      • I went to one of those games. I was even interviewed in the stands by Australian radio. Apart from the product on the field, and the awkward arrangement of cricket on a baseball diamond, the marketing was terrible. I was very interested in cricket at the time and learned of the league through cricket channels. This isn’t going to do it for a mainstream audience. Anyone who wants to try this again will have to do some serious marketing and be prepared to lose money up front.
        And yeah, purpose-built cricket stadiums in America? I want what he is smoking.

  2. I’m one of maybe a dozen American-born people who love cricket and even produced/hosted a weekly program covering international and domestic cricket on shortwave radio a few years ago. I don’t believe this story AT ALL.

    The USA’s governing cricket body has recently been kicked out of the ICC for a myriad of reasons and there has been no concerted effort to promote cricket in this country. Thus, the only people playing or watching it are expats from the West Indies or the Indian subcontinent. I’ve been to many matches where there might be 25-30 people watching and I’m the only Anglo in sight. It’s a great sport but there’s no need for large cricket stadiums in North America…how many empty seats do you want? The need is at the grass-roots level.

    And I’m with Mike. Twenty20 has become the most popular form of cricket pretty much everywhere and is the only version of the game that the typical ADD-suffering American sports fan might buy into because it only takes three hours to play a match.

    • I went to a 20-20 exhibition game on Staten Island about ten years ago, and it was fun enough. (Extremely small crowd, though.) if distaste for that format is waning, that’s good news, I guess, for bringing in new cricket fans? But enough to fill eight new stadiums is just insane – this has to be an attempt to get press attention by making crazy promises.

      • I think you confused resistance to T20 by cricket purists with resistance by cricket fans. T20 has been wildly popular in cricket countries, particularly India, for years now. The Indian Premier League plays it, and is the financial powerhouse of cricket. There is a class element here. The purists are right that T20 is a very different game from test match. Regardless of which is better, test match is limited in its appeal to those with the freedom to devote days to one match, while T20 appeals to those with a few hours.

        • You’re right, Richard. T20 is the only form of cricket with a chance of remotely catching on in the States but USACA has been all about officers maintaining control and nothing about bringing the sport to us Yanks. The ICC was long overdue in kicking them out.

          Even so, I think the ICC is more interested in making money off expats from India via pay-per-view TV or exhibition matches and couldn’t care less if Yanks catch on to what a great sport it is.

        • One short clarification and I’ll move along: While I take nothing back about the ICC or USACA, there ARE local leagues and teams who’ve tried promoting cricket in the USA. The game is alive and well at the grass-roots level in many places but, sadly, that’s as far as it goes.

  3. Don’t see cricket and baseball popular in the same country. Nor rugby & American rules football popular in same country.

  4. Any serious attempt to launch a cricket league in the US would probably need to adjust their rules to fit into an existing US stadium infrastructure. With every city over 100,000 building an MLS stadium, there won’t be much money left for cricket fields.

    • Can they move into the vacant soccer stadiums after the inevitable collapse of MLS? Because it’s getting ridiculous how nearly every day there’s a new city supposedly joining MLS. They’re headed for disaster.

      • Or they can move into the empty spring training parks , minor league & independent leagues parks that every state in the country has. Besides since baseball came from rounders that came from cricket , the empty baseball parks would make a better fit.

    • Maybe so but cricket would on it’s death bed if it wasn’t for T20 and
      were talking about the cricket mad countries.

  5. It wouldn’t be hard to measure domestic demand for any sport. So maybe these guys know something the traditional sports media in this country are keeping a secret. Although with the internet around its become almost impossible to keep Americans isolated from more international sports.

  6. Neil, maybe the organizers of this new cricket league are expecting big taxpayer funding for these new “cricket specific” stadiums? Lol.

    • They are!!! This from an Orlando Sentinel article today “Pandya said his group has secured licensing rights for a league and has private equity but will also need economic incentives from government, which could prove challenging.

      The JLL real estate group is scouting sites for stadiums with seating capacity for 25,000, parking, shopping, recreation and residential. ”

      The key is that last sentence. These are real estate developers looking for a handout for “shopping, recreation and residential” development.