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Major League Cricket Lands $120M For U.S. Stadiums, Facilities

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The CEO of Microsoft is leading a large investment in a U.S. professional cricket league, with tens of millions of dollars expected to go toward the construction of new stadiums and practice facilities.

An investment group led by Satya Nadella and joined in by a who's who of technology executives has injected $44M into Major League Cricket, which expects to launch the first professional cricket league in the U.S. next year. An additional $76M in funding is committed over the next 12 months. The league will play Twenty20 cricket, which is a faster-paced version of the traditional sport invented in the UK.

The $120M investment will be put toward the construction of stadiums and training centers, as well as hosting global cricket events in the United States over the next 10 years, according to a press release from American Cricket Enterprises, the parent company of the league. Also participating in the investment round are Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, Madrona Venture Group Managing Partner Soma Somasegar and former DropBox and Facebook Chief Technology Officer Aditya Agarwal.

Cricket has been steadily gaining ground in the U.S. over the past few years, with investors eager to capitalize on the popularity of the sport in key U.S. markets. ACE announced plans in 2020 to build a 5,400-person cricket stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas, with the project slated for completion this year.

ACE also entered into an agreement this year with Santa Clara County to build an up to 8,000-person cricket stadium on the site of the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in Northern California at an estimated cost of $50M, with ACE planning to begin construction next year.  

The Knight Riders Group, under an initiative driven by Major League Cricket, announced plans this year to invest $30M in a 10,000-seat, HKS-designed cricket stadium in Irvine, California, outside of Los Angelesaccording to Variety

Nadella, a longtime fan of the sport, is also going to fund a facility in his company's hometown — a facility is planned for Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington, Geekwire reports.