While the cricket world gears for the biggest showdown in the sport, the ICC World Cup 2019, there have been major developments in parts of the world where the sport isn’t as prominent as it is in India.
The latest country to make a major move is the USA, who is all set to launch it’s first ever T20 league in 2021. USA Cricket which is the governing body of the sport in America has made American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) as the strategic partner for the development of the league.
ACE is backed by key executives of the Times Group, Satyan Gajwani, and Vineet Jain, who also own Times Of India, alongside US pay-television cricket channel Willow TV’s Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan.
ACE has entered a long-term agreement and will invest a mammoth US$1 billion over ten years while it also brings an end to USA Cricket’s public invitation for partners on the project which launched in November last year.
Time Internet’s vice chairman, Satyan Gajwani said, “Cricket has the second largest audience in the world, and yet has little presence in the largest professional sports market. We want to develop a lasting institution that brings to the US the excitement and passion for cricket, enjoyed by billions of people globally. True grassroots development of any sport takes decades and we are excited and committed to play a role in developing world-class cricket in America.”
Slated for 2021 take off, the league aims to attract top players from around the world and develop a performance platform for the growth of America’s players as well. ACE will also set up academies around the US which will be in-line with the league’s teams. This will help discover new talent within the scope of the country.
USA cricket board chairman Paraag Marathe said, “USA Cricket is excited to partner with ACE to launch a professional cricket league in the United States and I thank the board for their hard work and thoughtful deliberation throughout this process.
“Vijay, Sameer, Satyan and Vineet provided a comprehensive vision for the growth of cricket in the US on all levels, and we’re confident they will create a world class T20 league here in America. This is a watershed moment for cricket in the United States and we look forward to a long-lasting, successful partnership.”
Plans are already on floor to make professional standard cricket venues across the States along with additional facilities at more than a dozen venues. ACE is also set to provide support to the men’s and women’s national teams.
The league will join the high ranks of other T20 leagues like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Australia’s Big Bash. This short form cricket has already attracted major fans all over the world and English Cricket Board (ECB) are the latest to bank on it launching its tournament, the Hundred, which will take place from 2020.