Today we discuss the salary of a Major League Cricket player in the USA.
When it comes to professional sports in America, we often think of baseball, basketball, and football as the top dogs.
But there’s a new player in town that’s been gaining international attention: Cricket. Major League Cricket has been making waves in the sports world, especially with the growing popularity of T20 cricket. However, there’s one question on every cricket fan’s mind: just how much do these players make?
MLC Cricketer Salary – By the Numbers
The average salary of a Major League Cricket player (MLC) is $60,526 (maximum 19 players in squad with a purse of $1.15 million).
The average salary for a domestic Major League cricketer is $39,375 ($315,000 purse for a total of 8 domestic players), while the average salary for an overseas MLC cricketer is $92,200 ($830,000 for nine overseas slots)
About $320,000 from the $1.15 million will be spent on the ten domestic players. This means about $830,000 is remaining in the purse of each team to sign the nine overseas players. Note, that this amount may be skewed. For example, according to a Daily Mail report, Jason Roy has been offered 300,000 pounds ($372,000) on a 2-year contract ($186,000/year). This means that LA Knight Riders, who signed Jason Roy, will be left with about $644,000 for their remaining 8 overseas signing (for an average of $80,500 per overseas player).
Major League Cricket (MLC) – How Much Was Each Draft Pick?
The Major League Cricket (MLC) draft was held earlier this year in the NASA Space Center in Houston.
The draft picks ranged from $10,000 (8th round pick) to $75,000 (1st round pick). Rookies were drafted in the 9th round (reportedly around $2,500) and an additional tenth player will be picked for each team following the Minor League Cricket (MiLC) season preceding the MLC.
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MLC Draft Picks – Salary of Major League Cricket Player
1. First Round Draft Pick ($75,000)
Harmeet Singh (Seattle Orcas), Andries Gous (Washington Freedom), Steven Taylor (MI New York), Corey Anderson (San Francisco Unicorns), Ali Khan (Los Angeles Knight Riders), Rusty Theron (Texas Super Kings)
2. Second Round Draft Pick ($65,000)
Shehan Jayasuriya (Seattle Orcas), Mukhtar Ahmed (Washington Freedom), Hammad Azam (MI New York), Liam Plunkett (San Francisco Unicorns), Unmukt Chand (Los Angeles Knight Riders), Calvin Salvage (Texas Super Kings)
3. Third Round Draft Pick ($50,000)
Shubham Ranjane (Seattle Orcas), Obus Pienaar (Washington Freedom), Ehsan Adil (MI New York), Tajinder Singh (San Francisco Unicorns), Jaskaran Malhotra (Los Angeles Knight Riders), Lahiru Milantha (Texas Super Kings)
4. Fourth Round Draft Pick ($40,000)
Cameron Gannon (Seattle Orcas), Saurabh Netravalkar (Washington Freedom), Nosthush Kenjige (MI New York), Chaitanya Bishnoi (San Francisco Unicorns), Nitish Kumar (Los Angeles Knight Riders), Milind Kumar (Texas Super Kings)
5. Fifth Round Draft Pick ($35,000)
Aaron Jones (Seattle Orcas), Saad Ali (Washington Freedom), Monank Patel (MI New York), Carmi Le Roux (San Francisco Unicorns), Corne Dry (Los Angeles Knight Riders), Sami Aslam (Texas Super Kings)
6. Sixth Round Draft Pick ($25,000)
Nauman Anwar (Seattle Orcas), Dane Piedt (Washington Freedom), Sarbjeet Singh Ladda (MI New York), Brody Couch (San Francisco Unicorns), Ali Sheikh (Los Angeles Knight Riders), Cameron Stevenson (Texas Super Kings)
7. Seventh Round Draft Pick ($15,000)
Phani Simhadri (Seattle Orcas), Sujith Gowda (Washington Freedom), Shayan Jahangir (MI New York), David White (San Francisco Unicorns), Saif Badar (Los Angeles Knight Riders), Cody Chetty (Texas Super Kings)
8. Eighth Round Draft Pick ($10,000)
Angelo Perera (Seattle Orcas), Justin Dill (Washington Freedom), Kyle Phillip (MI New York), Smit Patel (San Francisco Unicorns), Shadley Van Schalkwyk, Zia Shahzad (Texas Super Kings)
9. Ninth Round Draft Pick ($2,500)
Matthew Tromp (Seattle Orcas), Akhilesh Bodugum (Washington Freedom), Saideep Ganesh (MI New York), Sanjay Krishnamurthi (San Francisco Unicorns), Bhaskar Yadram (Los Angeles Knight Riders), Saiteja Mukkamalla (Texas Super Kings)
10. Overseas Signings ($60,000-$372,000)
The exact amounts for the overseas signings have not been disclosed yet. These are estimates based on reports and the purse allocated to each team.
Anrich Nortje, Wanindu Hasaranga, Marco Jansen, Glenn Phillips, Adam Milne (Washington Freedom)
Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis (San Francisco Unicorns)
Quinton de Kock, Wayne Parnell, Dasun Shanaka, Sikandar Raza (Seattle Orcas)
In conclusion, Major League Cricket players in the USA will be making a decent amount of money from MLC, a league that lasts only three weeks.
The average salary for a professional cricketer in the league ranges from $25,000 to $75,000, with the top players earning considerably more. While it may not match the salary of some of the top athletes in America, it is impressive for a sport that’s still finding its footing in the country.
As a fan of the sport, it’s exciting to see the potential for growth and success in Major League Cricket, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these talented athletes. With cricket’s popularity on the rise, it’s not a stretch to say that the league’s players could one day be just as well-compensated as their counterparts in football and baseball.
Which overseas cricketers will play in Major League Cricket (MLC) to be held in the United States later this summer? Jason Roy, Anrich Nortje, Aaron Finch, Quinton de Kock, Wanindu Hasaranga, and Sikandar Raza are some of the high-profile overseas players who will play in MLC.
The MLC draft held at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas started proceedings in March.
Creating a unique blend of talent and entertainment, Major League Cricket (MLC) in USA has signed up 11 overseas cricketers already. From Australia’s explosive captain Aaron Finch to South African wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock, MLC have added some major stars to their line-up.
With a total of 54 overseas spots open (6 teams, 9 overseas slots per squad), more such high-profile signings are just around the corner.
5 cricketers from South Africa, 3 from Australia, 2 from Sri Lanka, 2 from New Zealand, 1 from England, and 1 from Zimbabwe have been signed for Major League Cricket (MLC) so far.
Washington Freedom is leading the overseas signings (5 signings so far) followed by San Francisco Unicorns (3) and Seattle Orcas (3), and Los Angeles Knight Riders (1). MI New York and Texas Super Kings have yet to announce overseas signings.
List of Overseas Cricketers in Major League Cricket (MLC)
Here is the list of overseas cricketers who have been signed in MLC.
Note: Unmukt Chand, Dane Piedt, Corey Anderson, Liam Plunkett, Shehan Jayasuriya, Rusty Theron, Sami Aslam, etc. qualify as domestic players.
Major League Cricket (MLC) in the USA has attracted some of the biggest names in world cricket, with 11 overseas cricketers making the cut and showing their skills on the big stage.
The likes of Aaron Finch, Quinton de Kock, and many other prominent figures are sure to bring a dynamic dimension to the tournament and make it an exciting affair. The level of competition is sure to be high, as teams battle for the title of MLC champions. Fans can expect plenty of action in this highly anticipated tournament!
Which overseas cricketers would you like to see play in Major League Cricket?
Note: Other overseas players like Jason Roy are in negotiations to play in the MLC.
Frequently Asked Questions: Overseas Cricketers in Major League Cricket
How many overseas players can a MLC team have in their squads?
Each Major League Cricket (MLC) team is allowed to have 9 overseas players in their squads along with 10 domestic cricketers.
Which country has most players in Major League Cricket as overseas players?
So far, 4 South African cricketers have been signed as overseas signings in MLC 2023.
Which Major League Cricket (MLC) team has signed the most overseas players?
Washington Freedom has so far signed 5 high-profile signings so far.
How many overseas players can play in a XI of a Major League Cricket (MLC) match?
Up to six players can play in a MLC match, while nine overseas cricketers can be signed in the squad.
With the Major League Cricket beginning this year, we look at all the cricketers who left their countries and moved to play cricket in the USA.
The United States of America is becoming an increasingly popular destination for cricketers looking to pursue a career in the sport. Over the years, many international players from around the world have left their home countries and moved to the US in search of greater opportunities. From West Indies to South Africa, here are 53 cricketers who have left their countries and moved to play cricket in the USA.
At least 85 cricketers have left their home countries to pursue cricket in the USA.
This includes 16 West Indian cricketers, 19 South Africans, 22 Indians, 4 Sri Lankan, 4 Australian, 11 Pakistani, 2 from New Zealand, 2 from Nepal, and 5 from other nations (England, UAE, Canada, Afghanistan, Bangladesh)
11 of these players have played international cricket, at least 11-15 others have played at an U-19 level in their home countries, and a few others (Sunny Sohal, Siddharth Trivedi, Bipul Sharma, etc.) have even been picked up deals in the IPL.
Other current WI international players like Rakheem Cornwall & Chandrapaul Hemraj are not officially included in this list. However, a few such WI players play in Minor League Cricket (MiLC) and other local American clubs for extra practice in their off-season.
Credit: This list is largely inspired from the updated reports and tweets of American cricket journalist, Peter Della Penna. For example, see this tweet.
Which Cricketers Changed Their Nationality to play for the USA?
From the 2012 U-19 winning captain, Unmukt Chand to the 2019 Cricket World Cup winner, Liam Plunkett, here is the list of Top 24 players who left their countries to play cricket in the USA (extended list of 56 players and honorable mentions below)
*Note: Not all of these players are eligible to play for the USA national team at the moment. The residency process will take 3-4 years. Until that is achieved, the players will live here and play in the Minor/Major League Cricket.
1. Xavier Marshall (West Indies, 2005-2018)
Teams: Jamaica, West Indies, West Indies U-19s
Age When Left Home Country: 32
Current Age: 36
Minor League Team: New Jersey Somerset Cavaliers
Claim to Fame:Broke Shahid Afridi’s record with 12 sixes in an innings when he scored 157*(118) vs Canada in 2008. West Indies Youth Cricketer of the Year (2005), played 7 Tests and numerous limited overs game for the West Indies
Teams: New Zealand, New Zealand U-19, New Zealand A, Auckland, Canterbury, Northern Districts, Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Somerset, Lahore Qalandars, Barbados Tridents
Claim to Fame: 2019 Cricket World Cup winner (3 wickets in the final including Kane Williamson), key to England’s limited overs revival. 2008-09 County Champions with Durham. Played 13 Tests, 89 ODI, and 22 T20Is for England
Minor League Team: The Philadelphians (Player/Coach)
Role: Right Arm Fast Bowler (and lower order hitter)
Note, Plunkett traveled to the USA and has played club cricket in the USA earlier even when he was representing England since his wife is from the United States.
Final Thoughts – Why Are Cricketers Leaving Their Countries to Play Cricket in the USA?
Competition and financial security are two of the biggest reasons why cricketers are choosing to leave their home countries to play cricket in the USA.
Several of these cricketers played up till the U-19 and domestic levels. However, they could not make the cut to the international level. This has an impact on both personal desires and direct monetary value. Since USA cricket has been offering decent contracts to cricketers, and national boards of West Indies, South Africa, and New Zealand continue to struggle, we may continue to see the exodus of cricketers from those nations.
Will this help USA cricket qualify for world tournaments and establish Major League Cricket in this crowded T20 calendar?
How many cricketers left their countries to play cricket in the USA?
At least 85cricketers have left their home countries to pursue in the USA, including 11 former international cricketers. This includes 14 West Indian cricketers, 12 South Africans, 11 Indians, 3 Sri Lankans, 3 Australians, 2 Pakistanis, 2 from New Zealand, and 6 from other nations (England, UAE, Canda, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh).
Which Pakistani cricketer moved to the USA?
Sami Aslam and Shayan Jahangir are the Pakistani cricketers who moved to the USA.
Which Indian cricketers moved to the USA?
Unmukt Chand, Smit Patel, Sunny Sohal, Siddharth Trivedi, Harmeet Singh, and Bipul Sharma are six of the most prominent Indian cricketers who moved to the USA.
Which cricket players changed their nationalities?
Xavier Marshall, Gajanand Singh, Timil Patel, and a few other cricketers have changed their nationalities to play cricket in the USA. Others like Eoin Morgan, Ed Joyce, Boyd Rankin (Ireland to England) and Kepler Wessels (South Africa to Australia) are other examples of cricketers changing their nationalities and playing for two nations.
Currently, there are at least 34 cricket stadiums in USA (including grounds, parks, etc.), two of which have been certified by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and 24 local cricket grounds are being used by Minor League Cricket teams. Additionally, five more upcoming stadiums are currently being planned.
These stadiums are located all across the US, from California to Florida, North Carolina to Texas, and Georgia to name a few. Their sizes range from large-scale venues with plenty of seating space to small grassy fields that are more intimate in size.
In the United States, cricket has gained more popularity in recent years, leading to the development of cricket stadiums in various parts of the country. This article will discuss how many cricket stadiums are in the United States, which ones they are, and what kind of events they host. Read on to discover more about cricket stadiums in America!
AirHogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas (7000 seating capacity with a potential expansion to 20000 seats)
Smart Choice Moosa Stadium in Pearland, Texas (near Houston)
Indianapolis World Sports Park in Indianapolis, Indiana
Leo Magnus Cricket Complex, ‘Woodley’ Park in Los Angeles, California
Each of these stadiums has its own unique history and features that make it an exciting place to watch cricket. Most of them host domestic and international matches, as well as tournaments and development programs for the sport itself.
Upcoming Cricket Stadiums in the USA
Apart from existing cricket stadiums, there are also four upcoming venues in plan — each with varying seating capacities and location.
Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose, California
An upcoming proposed stadium in Orange County, California
New York Oval. in New York
Marine Park in Brooklyn, Spring Creek Park in Queens, or Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens (Shortlisted locations for a possible major cricket stadium in the New York area)
It is expected that the stadiums in the Bay Area and Washington may each seat around 10,000-20,000 spectators with a cost of $30 million combined.
Historic & Smaller Cricket Grounds in the United States
Apart from the major stadiums, there are also numerous smaller cricket grounds in the United States. These grounds have been used by Minor League clubs and other clubs for generations as well as hosting various tournaments over time.
Philadelphia Cricket Club Ground in Wissahickon Heights, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Belmont Cricket Club Ground in Elmwood, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Young America Cricket Club Ground in Stenton, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Germantown Cricket Club Ground in Manheim, Pennsylvania (earlier in Nicetown)
Merion Cricket Club Ground in Haverford, Pennsylvania
Boca Raton Cricket Club Ground in Boca Raton, Florida
Brian Piccolo Park in Cooper City, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
St. George’s Club Ground in Bloomingdale Road, Manhattan, New York
Red House Cricket Ground in Harlem, New York
*Citi Field in New York
*Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas
*Dodger Stadium in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California
*Note, the Cricket All-Stars tournament featuring Shane Warne, Sachin Tendulkar, Shoaib Akthar, etc. took place at famous baseball grounds—Citi Field, Minute Maid Park, and Dodger Stadium.
Established in 2007, the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium in Lauderhill is the biggest cricket stadium in the United States. It has two pitches and offers seating for up to 10,000 fans. Every Spring it hosts the American college cricket tournament and is also home to the Ft. Lauderdale Lions of Minor League Cricket.
The Moosa Stadium in Pearland, Texas was established in 2015 and is a rising cricket stadium. It provides seating for up to 2,500 fans with the potential for further expansion. It is the home of Lone Star Athletics.
The AirHogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas is a professional baseball stadium that has been transformed into a cricket ground. It offers seating for up to 7,000 spectators and has the potential for further expansions. This ground has become quite popular with local cricket enthusiasts.
The Indianapolis World Sports Park was built with an investment of $5 million and it hosted the 2015 ICC T20 World Cup Americas Division One qualification tournament.
The Leo Magnus Woodley Park is a sporting complex established in 1978 and named after Jamaican cricketer, Leo Magnus. It comprises five cricket fields (Marder, Severn, Wong, Woodley and Wright) and is home to the Hollywood Master Blasters and Socal Lashings of Minor League Cricket. Historically, it was the home of the Hollywood Cricket Club.
Founded in 1854, Philadelphia Cricket Club Ground is the oldest cricket club in the USA, while Germantown Cricket Club is the second oldest surviving cricket club in the United States. The Belmont Cricket Club (1874-1914), home to one of America’s greatest cricketers, Bart King, was one of the great clubs in American cricket.
The stadiums listed above host a variety of events for both spectators and players.
These include domestic and international matches, tournaments, camps and academies to help with cricket development in the US. The following is a list of some of the events hosted at US cricket stadiums:
International Matches & CPL
A total of 27 ODI matches (12 Moosa, 15 Ft. Lauderhill) and 14 T20I matches (all Ft. Lauderhill) international matches have been hosted by the US.
New Zeland, Sri Lanka, India, West Indies, Bangladesh, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Nepal, Oman, Namibia, and the USA have all played here. Ft. Lauderhill has been used as one of West Indies’ home venue in bilateral series.
Minor League Cricket began in 2020 as the precursor to Major League Cricket, USA’s much anticipated T20 franchise competition. 27 teams took place in the inaugural tournament with Silicon Valley Strikers emerging as the winner.
National Championships and Other tournaments
These tournaments are organized by US cricket associations and involve women’s, men’s, U-19, and other teams from different states across the country.
Apart from major leagues, regional club tournaments, tape ball cricket, and college cricket also occur on a regular basis.
4. Major League Cricket and 2024 T20 World Cup to Take Place Across USA’s Top Cricket Stadiums
In 2023, Major League Cricket (MLC) is set to take place between July 13th and 30th.
The Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas is the main location with franchises from Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, and Washington D.C. The following year in 2024, the 20-team T20 World Cup will be jointly hosted by the United States and West Indies.
5. Conclusion – The Growing Popularity of Cricket in America
Cricket is quickly gaining popularity in the United States, with more people becoming aware of and involved in the game.
The US Cricket Association has advocated for the expansion of cricket in America, resulting in cricket stadiums located across the country, academies and clubs to help players hone their skills.
Stadiums such as Church Street Park & Moosa Stadium are paving the way for even more growth. The upcoming 2024 T20 World Cup and Major League Cricket will bring even more attention to the sport, and with continued growth, cricket will become an increasingly popular sport in America.
Maybe the future even holds a partnership with Minor League Baseball stadiums similar to the conversion of the Texas Airhogs stadium.
5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Cricket Stadiums in USA
How many cricket stadiums in the USA?
Currently, there are at least 33 cricket stadiums in the USA. Two stadiums are ICC certified, 5 are in the planning phase, while the rest are park and local grounds.
Which cricket stadiums will host the 2023 Major League Cricket?
The Airhogs stadium in Dallas, Texas will be the host of the inaugural Major League Cricket held between July 13-30.
How many teams participate in Minor League Cricket in the USA?
26 teams compete in Minor League Cricket (MiLC) in the United States.
How many teams will compete in the 2023 Major League Cricket in the USA?
Six franchises from from Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, and Washington D.C. will compete in the 2023 Major League Cricket (MLC).
USA Cricket —two terms that do not go together, BUT did you know:
The first international cricket match was played between the United Statesof America and Canada way back in 1844?
In fact, it was the first modern international sports match. That’s right. Even before the first official Ashes Test match between England and Australia in 1877, and before the first international soccer game between England and Scotland in 1872.
Interesting piece of trivia, isn’t it?
Cricket was played in the US for several decades after independence from Great Britain with Philadelphia as its major center. Even George Washington is said to have played a game of cricket at Valley Forge.
Well, cricket in the US has been downhill ever since. After the Civil War in 1865, cricket lost its steam in the U.S. By the time World War I ended, the decline was complete with baseball & The World Series taking over. The detail history of Cricket in the United States can be found here from USA cricket’s website. Quite fascinating actually. Anyway…
Today we will discuss:
Recent developments that have suddenly propelled USA Cricket in the news.
Status of cricket in America & Major League Cricket.
The Money Factor: Sports business & major leagues in US—NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS.
The Broken Dream: Leagues that have failed in America
Where I think USA cricket will go and how you can participate & watch the games.
Fasten on your seatbelts! Here we go – will answer all your questions on the way!
(But before we go ahead, click on the “JOIN US FOR FREE” button 👇 for more such articles!)
Note: Videos are linked & bolded. Sources & Articles are just linked.
1. Recent Development: Heavy Investments In USA Cricket
Recently USA Cricket has been in the news for various reasons.
AirHogs stadium, a former minor league baseball stadium, in Grand Prairie, Texas (outskirts of Dallas) is being converted to a cricket stadium. It has support and funding from the local authorities as well as USA cricket.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, and other high profile names interested in investing in Major League Cricket, a $1 billion investment.
Ex-cricketers from other nations recruited. South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand internationals Dane Piedt, Sami Aslam, and Corey Anderson respectively have already confirmed their moves (retirement from home country and signing of a 3 year Major League Cricket deal), while World Cup winner Liam Plunkett and other South African expatriates are targeted.
Major League Cricket is right around the corner! MLC will launch between July 13-30 in Dallas, Texas.
In order to understand prospect of cricket in America, we first need to understand where Team USA sits in the cricket world rankings.
ICC* Cricket rankings consists of (1) Full Members and (2) Associate Members. As of 2019, 12 countries had Full Member status while 92 were Associate Members. The 12 full members consists of (mostly) former British colonies:
Australia (Aus), New Zealand (NZ), India (Ind), England (Eng), Sri Lanka (SL), South Africa (SA), Pakistan (Pak), West Indies (WI), Bangladesh (Ban), Zimbabwe (Zim), Ireland (Ire), & Afghanistan (Afg).
*ICC – International Cricket Council
USA Cricket – The Administration
After the decline of US cricket in the 20th century, USA Cricket Association (USACA) was created in 1965 as an Associate Member. For the next few decades, USA hovered around qualification tournaments, even qualifying for the 2004 Champions Trophy. However, the downhill spiral started once again, and the organization was expelled in 2017 due to financial and administrative trouble.
Under a new governing body, USA Cricket (USAC), the US was finally re-inducted as a new Associate member 2019. The progress continued as US achieved ODI status after qualifying for World Cup League Division 2.
It looks like USA Cricket has finally found its feet after years of turmoil.
Rankings: 19/20 (ODI), 34/104* (T20I)
Current Captain: Saurabh Netravalkar (replaced Ibrahim Khaleel, ex Indian first class player)
Newly Prominent Recruited Players: Xavier Marshall (WI) Rusty Theron (SA), Dane Piedt (SA), Corey Anderson (NZ), Sami Aslam (Pak)
Players With CPL* Experience: Hayden Walsh Jr. (now plays for West Indies), Ali Khan (Also selected for the IPL*), Cameron Gannon (BBL), Steven Taylor (ex USA captain), Timroy Allen, Nikhil Dutta, Jasdeep Singh
*Note, in April 2018, all 104 cricket nations were granted T20 International status.
*CPL – Caribbean Premier League, IPL – Indian Premier League, BBL – Big Bash League (Australia)
The goal? Make cricket a mainstream sport in the United States and become an ICC Full Member by 2030.
Other goals in the foundational plan includes focusing on (1) current players and fanbase, (2) youth development, (3) T20 cricket, and (4) women’s cricket. In addition, USAC plans to bid for international tournaments hosting starting from the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics (Even the ICC has started pitch for cricket in Olympics with the 2022 Commonwealth Games).
Here is their 2020 progress report – Zonal Trials, Umpire Training, and in 2021, even a national softball tournament?
Currently the structure is semi-professional but growing in the right direction. According to USA Cricket, the selection route to the national team involves “Regional Combines, Zonal High Performance Programs, and National Training Camps,” with regional and national championships planned in future years.
In the club circuit, there are several tournaments such as Leather Ball Cricket (T20, T30, T40) along with tape-ball (indoor) and tennis ball cricket. Other tournaments like the recently concluded US Open T20 tournament, which included stars like Chris Gayle and Rayad Emrit, have also been organized by independent organizations like Cricket Council USA.
The Airhogs stadium will be the second professional cricket stadium in the US after Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Here is a list of the major cricket stadiums and facilities in the US:
Central Broward Regional Park: Lauderdale, Florida, $70 million (ICC certified international quality)
Hosted 10 T20 internationals (SL, NZ, WI, Ind, Bang), several CPL matches, World Cricket League Division 2 (USA, Namibia, Papua New Guinea), American College Cricket (ACC) finals
AirHogs Stadium: Grand Prairer, Texas (under renovation – to become international quality)
Indianapolis World Sports Park: Indianapolis, Indiana, $5.1 million (2014 – multipurpose)
USA Cricket has partnered with the American Cricket Enterprises (ACE), who invested $1 billion in Major League Cricket (MLC).
The vision is to create a 6-team world-class T20 tournament with the best USA and international talent, starting in 2022. According to the Major League Cricket organizers, “MLC is developing cricketing infrastructure including international quality stadiums, elite youth academies, and high-grade training facilities.” Here are the details:
Teams: San Francisco, Los Angeles (Western Conference), Dallas, Chicago (Central Conference), New York (Eastern Conference), Atlanta (Southern Conference)
Academies: Investment in youth academies like the Willow Academy (San Francisco/Seattle). Currently there are 2 indoor facilities, 6 grounds, and over 500 students enrolled.
Minor League: A precursor to the Major League will be the Minor League Cricket, beginning in 2021. It is a development league that would feed into Major League. In the 2020 Minor League Exhibition tournament featured 24 teams & 155 matches.
Sponsors/TV Rights: Apart from Nadella, former CTO of Facebook & Dropbox, CEO of Adobe have also pitched in. ACE has a partnership with Willow TV and the Times of India Group. A full list of sponsors can be found here.
Now that we have demystified cricket in America to you, let us answer the real question:
Can Major League Cricket survive in America? Can cricket capture the imagination in the USA?
*Baseball fans, new to cricket? Check this blog by CricAmerica – explains cricket via baseball terms
According to Forbes, Sal Galatioto states, “There is no lack of multi-billionaires that want to get into the sports business right now.” If there was a place to invest in sports right now, it is the United States.
America has a vibrant sporting culture. USA dominates the Summer Olympics with 2,523 total medals, including 1,022 gold and not far behind in the Winter Olympics with 305 total medals (105 gold). Golf, tennis, boxing, NASCAR, and several other sports have a safe space in the U.S. market.
For Major League Cricket to prosper, we have to look at templates of other leagues in America. We will restrict our analysis to the Big 5 leagues: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS.
In Forbes’ top 50 most valuable teams, only 7 teams are non-American. NFL’s Dallas Cowboys tops the list and has 27 teams in the top 50, NBA has 9 teams, 7 for MLB, and none for NHL or MLS.
The first non-American team is at #6 with Real Madrid, valued at $4.24 billion. Barcelona is at #8 valued at $4.02 billion. There are 5 other soccer teams in the list with teams from La Liga, English Premier League, and Bundesliga making the cut.
No cricket league makes the Forbes’ list, but for comparison, Indian Premium League (IPL), the most popular cricket league, is valued around $5 billion with an average annual player salary of $5.3 million, only behind the NBA.
BUT guess what? Dallas Cowboys are worth $5.5 billion, more than the entire IPL.
National Football League (NFL)
Year Founded: 1920
Teams/Matches Per Season: 32 – 267 matches
Average Attendance: 67, 100 (2019)
Total Revenue/TV Viewership : $16.9 billion (2019)
Most Valuable Team: Dallas Cowboys: $5.5 billion (value) – #1 Most Valuable in the World
Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 16.6 million
TV Rights: $4.52 billion (2019)
Average Annual Player Salary:$3.26 million (2019/20)
Cultural Impact: American football is, by far, the most popular sport in the U.S dominating viewership, TV rights, and money generated. Football is widely followed at all levels—high school, NCAA football, and NFL. The NFL season begins around September and culminates in February with the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event of the year with the iconic Super Bowl adsand Halftime Shows. From Friday night high school games to Sunday night NFL, football is imbued in the American culture. The impact of American football is far reaching through growth in local businesses, restaurants, and bars on game nights.
Teams/Matches Per Season: 30 teams (29 US, 1 Canada) – 1312 matches
Average Attendance: 17,857 (2019)
Total Revenue: $8.8 billion (2018)
Most Valuable Team: New York Knicks: $4.6 billion
Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 7.3 million
TV Rights: $3.12 billion (2019)
Average Annual Player Salary: $8.32 million (2019/20)
Cultural Impact: After American football, basketball is the most popular sport in the United States across and also followed across different levels. The NBA season runs from October to June culminating in the widely watched NBA Finals. The most easily accessible sport, pick-up backyard games is a common summer activity. Culturally, around 80% of NBA players are African Americans, producing legends like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James.
Teams/Matches Per Season: 30 (29 US, 1 Canada) -2467 matches
Average Attendance: 28,180 (2019)
Total Revenue: $10.37 billion (2019)
Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 4 million
Most Valuable Team: New York Yankees: $5 billion
TV Rights: $1.65 billion (2019)
Average Annual Player Salary: $4.03 million (2019/20)
Cultural Impact: Baseball is considered to be America’s national pastime. Since MLB is the oldest professional sports league in the US, baseball enjoys a rich history, culture, and lifelong fans. However, according to several surveys and the New York Times, the popularity in baseball has vastly decreased for the past decade. Certainly, football has taken over nationally in TV coverage and fan following. Yet, baseball is still alive since it provides a ‘social experience’ due to the presence of local Minor/Major League teams in most cities. The sport has also provided several iconic players over time such as Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and Micky Mantle.
Teams: 31 (24 US, 7 Canada)/extends to 32 teams in 2021 – 1358 matches
Average Attendance: 17,380 (2019)
Total Revenue: $5.1 billion (2019)
Most Valuable Team: New York Rangers: $1.65 billion
Average TV Viewership (Per Game): 1.6 million
TV Rights: $220 million (2019)
Average Annual Player Salary: $2.69 million (2019/20)
Cultural Impact: Ice Hockey (aka hockey) also enjoys mild support in the United States, especially in the midwestern and northern regions. With several teams from Canada and stars like Wayne Gretzky, the NHL continues to prosper and grow. The US and Canada are two of the best six international teams and they are usually contenders in the Winter Olympics.
Cultural Impact: Soccer is a relatively recent major sport in the United States. The precursor to MLS was the North American Soccer League (1968-84) attracting the likes of legends like Pelé. After its decline, hosting the 1994 FIFA World Cup boosted soccer into the American mainstream. The USA Women’s Soccer Team, the most successful women’s team, has further established its hold in the US, winning 4 World Cup titles and 4 Olympic Golds. Although soccer is not as popular as the other sports, it has created a space for itself and is growing in school and collegiate levels.
4. The Broken Dreams: Leagues That Failed in America
All that glitters is not gold.
Now that you have seen the possibilities and money involved, let us bring you back to Earth. Not all leagues in the United States succeeded. In fact, most of them failed.
Cricket fans, think of these competitive ventures along the lines of Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket (1977-79), Stanford 20/20 (2006-08), or the Indian Cricket League (2007-09). Here is just a small list.
Competitors to the Big 5
Even before the Big 5 Leagues succeeded, there were several precursors or competitors that failed.
NBA: American Basketball League (1961-62), American Basketball Association (1967-76), Slamball (2002-08)
MLB: Senior Professional Baseball Association (1989-90) – for retired stars
NHL: World Hockey Association (1971-79), Roller Hockey International (1993-1999)
MLS: North American Soccer League (1968-1984)
America is a land of creativity, but sometimes a little too much creativity can be dangerous as the XFL, Slamball, and Senior Baseball League shows.
It is all about American football. For high profile NFL competitors, we will need its own section.
United States Football League (1982-85): Football in Spring/Summer season (feat Donald Trump)
Alliance of American Football (2018-19): $100 million invested – lost $88 million
XFL (2001): Directly competitor to NFL – $ 70 million loss (courtesy WWE’s Vince McMahon) – may return in 2022
NFL Europe(1991-2007): Spread Football to Europe? Lost around $30 million/year
Arena Football (1987-2009): Internal football league – successful 2 decades but declined eventually
Other Serious Ventures
Here are some other niche sports that did not go far in their first attempt.
Rugby: Pro Rugby League (2015-17)
Lacrosse: National Lacrosse League (1974-75), American Lacrosse League (1988)
Ultimate Frisbee: Major League Ultimate (2013-16)
Several women leagues have been launched post successful Olympics/World Cup campaigns.
Volleyball: Major League Volleyball (1987-89), United States Professional Volleyball League (2003)
Soccer: Women’s United Soccer Association (2000-03) – post US Women’s 1999 FIFA WC victory, Lost around $100 million
Baseball: All-American Girls Professional Baseball Association (1943-1954)
In conclusion here, money can’t buy you happiness, can it? More investment—Higher the prospects, but deeper the fall.
What’s more? MLC is not the first attempt to get cricket into Americans.
Pro Cricket League (2004): 8 team T20 competition with stars like Ajay Jadeja & Daren Ganga. Did not see the light of a 2nd season
American Premier League (2009): 6 international teams & partnership with NZ cricket with matches in New York, but it fell through before materializing
American National Championship (2014) – The Indianapolis World Park stadium was created for this reason with a 3 year deal and public support. Also failed to materialize
Cricket All Stars (2015): Sachin Tendulkar XI vs Shane Warne XI held in baseball stadiums across NYC, Houston, and LA. Team made up of retired stars. It was fun when it lasted but they never returned for another series as originally planned.
Although these attempts failed, Major League Cricket gives different vibes. This time things feel different. T20 leagues in the world have stabilized, more & more cricketers are abandoning national duty and becoming T20 mercenaries, and the expatriate population in the U.S. is growing.
In all reality, Major League Cricket will most likely not go the way of the NFL and NBA, but it might not crash like the XFL or USFL. Smaller leagues have created their own niche and survived, without TV rights and mainstream media.
Here are professional sports league in the US with recent average attendance.
Women’s National Basketball Association (1997-): 6,535
Major League Lacrosse(2001-): 3,844
National Women’s Soccer League(2013-): 7,337
Major League Rugby(2018-): 4,125
Note: Other leagues include National Women’s Hockey League, National Lacrosse League, and Major Arena Soccer League, etc.
ICC Americas: The CPL & Global T20 Canada Model
With the ICC Americas initiative, West Indies cricket has been supportive of USA cricket.
The CPL franchises now reserve some spots for American players and increase exposure, while Florida also hosts some of WI & CPL matches in Florida. Yet the numbers have been decreasing – 6 CPL games in 2016, 4 & 3 in the next two years, and none after 2018.
In 2018, a fairly successful 6-team Global T20 Canada was launched. Each team had an array of international stars such as JP Duminy, Andre Russell, and Imrah Tahir interspersed with Canadian and American players. For the first edition, 5 teams & a ‘West Indies B’ team took part, which could be an interesting idea for USA Cricket to adopt.
Fun Fact: Brendon McCullum’s last game in any type of cricket was the 2019 Global T20 Canada league.
The Cricket World Cup – A Far Fetched Dream?
Yet, even if MLC succeeds, it does not guarantee Full Membership and ICC funding.
The Cricket World Cup is the pinnacle of the game, and qualification for the CWC is a major goal for the Associate nations, but it has gotten harder recently.
With the new 10-team World Cup Format and ODI Super League, the top 7 ranked teams & hosts qualify directly, while two teams compete in a 10-team qualifying tournament. With the likes of competitive teams like Netherlands, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, and Nepal, it will be hard for the USA Cricket Team to beat these teams, let alone the Full Members.
The T20 World Cup may be more compelling with 16 possible teams, but with USA languishing at #34 right now, it is hard to fathom.
USA And China are the sleeping giants of world cricket.
For cricket fans around the world, the status of cricket in America is an anomaly. With immigrants from all around the world, surely a few of them can get together to make a decent team?
$20 Trillion economy, 330 million population, about 6 million immigrants from cricket playing nations, and the gradual decline of baseball, surely cricket in America is a possibility? It’s got to be!
What I Wish To Happen: The Afghanistan Model
The Afghanistan National Cricket Team is well-known for its rapid rise. In a war torn country, it became an Affiliate Member in 2001. Rising from Division 5, they qualified for the T20 World Cup in 2010, became an Associate Member in 2013, a Full Member in 2017, and have produced talents like Mohammad Nabi & Rashid Khan.
In my ideal scenario, the newly recruited international cricketers make the USA cricket team and climb up the ladder in qualification bid for the 2027 World Cup. The following year, Los Angeles hosts cricket at the 2028 Olympics. A few years later, say by 2036, USA hosts a T20 World Cup. Next thing you know, the MLC regularly starts attracting international stars, spectators increase, funding stabilizes and there you go, cricket established in the American market within 10-15 years.
What is Actually Going to Happen: The MLS Model
The issue with the Afghanistan Model is it already was a cricket crazy nation. USA is not.
The only template cricket has for a new sport to mix into the mainstream is soccer. After the NASL in 1968, it took the USA team 22 years to qualify for a World Cup in 1990, hosted the 1994 World Cup, and finally the MLS began in 1996. Women’s Soccer started to take shape in the late-1980s and won the 1999 World Cup, just 10 years later. It has taken a further 20 years for the sport to come in the public eye.
If cricket follows a similar model, the women USA team will qualify by 2030, USA men’s cricket team will qualify for the 2043 World Cup, host the 2047 World. By the team we hit 2050, cricket may finally come into the sports conversation. It may take a generation or two more for cricket to spread to each city, each grade level, and compete with the likes of American football, basketball, and baseball.
In any case, the money is here, the audience here. Let’s play.
Here are some resources from if you want to get involved in the growth of cricket in America. Rookie Leagues: Entry Level program for kids & youth. Officiating (umpires) & coaching resources as well. Player Registration: If you are interested in playing or trying out for the Minor League/Major League/ USA Cricket, fill out this application. What Is Cricket?: ICC’s short minute videos on the different aspects of cricket/rules. Nice 3 minutes high quality videos here to share ahead to your “Future Cricket Fans.” Here are some of the questions this article has answered along the way.
Is Cricket Popular In America?
Cricket is not yet a popular sport in America. Team sports is dominated by 5 major leagues – the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS. Cricket is trying to break into the sports market with the inaugural Major League Cricket in 2022.
How Much Do USA Cricket Players make?
USA cricketers make around $70,000-$90,000 although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some budget cuts, which has impacted players salaries.
Is cricket growing in America?
Cricket is growing in America. USA cricket is investing in infrastructure and age-school cricket as well as high performance academies. USA Cricket’s foundational plan emphasizes focusing on (1) current players and fanbase, (2) youth development, (3) T20 cricket, (4) women’s cricket, and (5) hosting ICC events starting from the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
Why there is no cricket in USA?
American football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, soccer, NASCAR, and other individual sports (Olympics) dominate the conversation. Hence, cricket has yet to break in, but it is growing in the right direction.
How many sports leagues are there in the US?
Sport in America is dominated by the Big 5 Leagues: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and the MLS. We have provided details on each of the leagues here – value, player salary, cultural impact, and much more!
Which sports league is the most valuable?
The NFL is the most valuable sports league with $16.9 billion. Dallas Cowboys itself is valued at $5.5 billion. The MLB comes next with $10.37 billion and the NBA with $8.8 billion.
Where can I watch cricket in America?
Cricket is available in the USA on Willow TV. Willow TV can be purchased directly on their website or with TV providers subscriptions like Sling TV.