• Loading stock data...
Thursday, June 20, 2024

Here’s Why Cricket Is Having a Major American Moment

  • The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup begins in Dallas on Saturday.
  • The U.S.’s Major League Cricket just received a key sanction—and credibility.
San Francisco Unicorns

The second-most popular sport in the world is finally gaining significant momentum Stateside.

On Saturday, a match in Dallas between the U.S. and Canada will officially begin the 2024 International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Cup. The biannual tournament—which has expanded from 16 to 20 teams and will hand out a record $10 million in prize money—uses a different format of the sport in which matches play out in just a few hours instead of multiday affairs.

The U.S. is holding 16 matches in Dallas, New York, and South Florida over the next month as a cohost alongside the West Indies. (You may have already heard about the $30 million, 34,000-seat temporary stadium constructed on Long Island.) 

While the U.S. likely won’t be hoisting a trophy at the end of the T20 World Cup (India, Australia, and England are the favorites), its domestic league scored a huge victory this week. The ICC granted official List-A status to Major League Cricket, which drew roughly 70,000 fans across its inaugural 15-game season last year. That means players’ performance will now count toward their career stats, which wasn’t the case in Season 1, and further incentivize top talent to consider playing in the league.

“I was very pleasantly surprised,” Anand Rajaraman, a co-owner of MLC’s San Francisco Unicorns, tells Front Office Sports. “I thought it would take us a couple seasons to show the ICC that the quality of cricket is good.”

Since the U.S. is not a full member of the ICC, an exception had to be made to give MLC its new status. “The ICC very much wants to promote cricket in the U.S.,” Rajaraman says.

Game of Expansion

MLC is expanding its schedule to 21 games for Season 2, which begins July 5, less than a week after the T20 World Cup concludes, with many top players from the World Cup expected to stick around and also compete in this upcoming MLC season. In 2025, MLC plans to play 34 games. 

The six-team league is also exploring adding four expansion franchises in the near future. In addition to San Francisco, MLC also has teams in Los Angeles; New York; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; and Texas. “It was always intended to be a 10‑team league,” MLC CEO Vijay Srinivasan told The ­Guardian.

The Texas Super Kings are currently the only MLC team with a permanent home venue: Grand Prairie Stadium, also the home of the U.S. men’s national cricket team, which received a $20 million renovation in 2022. But plans are in the works for the rest of the league to build comparable stadiums built for hosting cricket. 

With MLC set up for more potential growth in the coming years, cricket’s moment in the U.S. could hit a crescendo in 2028: The sport will return to the Summer Olympics, hosted by Los Angeles, for the first time since 1900.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

U.S. Hosts Copa América: A Milestone in Soccer’s Oldest Tournament

The U.S. hosting of the tournament follows a larger partnership between two major soccer federations.

Spring Football’s Future: UFL’s Mixed Results, Ambitious Changes Ahead

“You really need deep pockets,” former XFL commissioner Oliver Luck tells ‘Front Office Sports.’

Leagues’ Disclosure Demands Add Complexity to DSG’s Bankruptcy Exit

The bankrupt regional sports network operator makes an emergency motion for a discovery conference.

Major Selling Point for Cities Pushing New Stadium Projects: Big Events

Several jurisdictions have mentioned events such as the Super Bowl as part of the impetus to build or renovate stadiums.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

MLB’s Post-Pitch Clock Boom Continues


Featured Today

Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Odds Stacked Against NFL in Multibillion-Dollar Sunday Ticket Trial

Why the class action trial does not look promising for the league.
Jan 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter (11) takes a three-point shot against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Chase Center.
June 9, 2024

‘Bound to Happen’: The Age of the Sports Betting Scandal Has Arrived

A banishment, betting scheme, and guilty plea all in one scandal-filled span.
June 8, 2024

‘Experimental in Nature’: The Rapid, Confounding Rise of Streaming Bundles

Here’s why confusion continues to outweigh solutions in the streaming package boom.
June 2, 2024

The Nostalgia Market: Michael Jordan’s Memorabilia Remains Coveted, With Caveats

Due to scarcity, and sometimes, items’ undisclosed whereabouts, this world has limitations.

U.S. Cricket Stuns Goliath Behind Its Star, an Ivy League Software Engineer

Team USA upset Pakistan, one of cricket’s superpowers, in overtime.
May 6, 2024; Paris, FRANCE; A general view of construction of the Eiffel Tower Stadium, the venue for beach volleyball, in preparation for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
June 4, 2024

Microsoft Warns of Russian Olympic Disinformation Campaign

Russian actors used an AI-generated Tom Cruise in a fake propaganda film.
Jun 16, 2022; New York, New York, USA; A detail view of The FIFA World Cup Trophy sits on a stand outside of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
June 5, 2024

Saudi Arabia, Likely World Cup Host, Slammed With Workers’ Rights Abuse Claims

The nation needs to build at least 10 stadiums to host.

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.
Aug 18, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Julio Cesar La Cruz (CUB, red) faces Adilbek Niyazymbetov (KAZ, blue) during boxing final in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Riocentro - Pavilion
May 29, 2024

Discredited Boxing Organization Vows to Award Prize Money to Paris Olympians

The IBA, unrecognized by the IOC, vowed $50,000 to boxing gold medalists.
March 27, 2024

Ukraine’s Improbable Soccer Run Continues With Euros Qualification

The country reaches its first major soccer tournament since Russia’s invasion began.
March 6, 2024

Super Bowl LVIII Scores Big With International Viewers

The NFL gets a 10% global boost compared to last year.
March 4, 2024

FIA President Under Investigation for Alleged F1 Race Tinkering 

Mohammed Ben Sulayem is being scrutinized for his role in overturning a crucial penalty at F1’s 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.