Major League Cricket (MLC) will soon be coming to Grand Prairie, as the city has approved a long-term lease agreement to begin a redevelopment of AirHogs Stadium as the organization’s first major cricket stadium in the United States, according to a release from USA Cricket.
The stadium was previously the home of the independent baseball team Texas AirHogs, which ceased operations in October 2020.
The stadium, which will soon be renamed, will now become a dedicated world-class cricketing facility. The league, which will use design firm HKS, will redevelop the venue throughout 2021, with plans to launch in 2022 with the to-be-named Texas franchise. The stadium will also serve as a base for the USA Cricket National team and a premier High Performance Center.
“As the first Major League Cricket stadium in the United States, Grand Prairie represents a seminal moment for the sport in America, and we are incredibly excited to partner with the City of Grand Prairie to bring Major League Cricket to Dallas,” said Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan, co-founders of ACE and MLC, in a statement. “Grand Prairie’s centralized location in the U.S. and the thriving Texas cricketing community, allied with the quality of the facility, made it the perfect site for us and we are certain that this is the beginning of a fruitful long-term partnership with the city that will bring much success.”
Cricket fans may remember that this is not the first attempt to bring a professional cricket stadium to the Dallas area, as one was announced for Allen in December 2018 before being scuttled less than a year later.
According to the release, the Dallas-Fort Worth area is generally thought to be a hotbed for cricket, with a strong fan base and demographics in surrounding areas. The new stadium will be the most extensive fully-dedicated cricket facility in the United States, one capable of hosting major international competitions. USA Cricket hopes the venue will attract major international events to the United States.
“We are very excited about this opportunity to bring cricket to Texas by converting our minor league baseball stadium,” said Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen in a statement. “Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world behind soccer, with a large and growing audience in the states. We look forward to an exciting future with our partners.”
According to the release, USA Cricket counts more than 150,000 regular players across the country, with roughly 20 million fans and more than 4 million regular viewers of cricket.