Indian American business leaders boost American cricket

Major League Cricket secures $120 million funding to launch America’s first-ever professional Twenty20 cricket league

More than a dozen Indian-American business leaders including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen are among major investors in a venture to launch America’s first-ever professional Twenty20 cricket league.

Major League Cricket (MLC), America’s first professional T20 cricket league, announced May 19 its plans to deploy more than $120 million to launch the US version of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Investment in MLC will “open a new era for the world’s second most popular sport in the United States” and “transform US cricket landscape and fund the construction of world-class cricket stadia and training centers nationwide,” it said.

Read: Cricket is on a fast track in America: Tom Dunmore (September 20, 2021)

The San Francisco based organization, which is partnering with ICC member USA Cricket, said it has completed an initial close of a $44 million Series A and A1 Fundraising Round, which includes MLC’s seed funding round, led by a group of America’s most successful and respected business leaders.

With an additional commitment of $76 million in further fundraising over the next 12 months in place, MLC plans to deploy more than $120 million in the venture.

Investor groups in the initial round were led by: Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft) and Soma Somasegar (Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group), Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayan (Founding Partners at Milliways Ventures and Rocketship VC); Sanjay Govil (Founder and Chairman of Infinite Computer Solutions and CEO, Zyter); Anurag Jain (Managing Partner of Perot Jain, LP, Chairman of Access Healthcare) and Ross Perot Jr. (Chairman, The Perot Group); Tanweer Ahmed (CEO, PAK Foods, CEO, OUR Energy and Owner of Prairie View Cricket Complex); The Baheti Family (Owners of YASH Technologies).

“The significant funding committed by an outstanding group of investors will allow Major League Cricket to build first-class facilities and accelerate the sport’s development across the country, bringing world-class professional cricket to the world’s largest sports market,” said Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan, co-founders, Major League Cricket.

“This investor group comprises leading business executives and successful tech entrepreneurs who have led some of the world’s most prominent companies,” he said.

“They bring tremendous experience and expertise in support of MLC’s plans to launch a transformative Twenty20 league and establish America as one of the world’s leading homes for international cricket events.”

The $120 million investment into MLC will primarily be dedicated to building premier cricket-specific stadia and training centers to develop a new generation of American star cricketers, according to a press release.

Read: Cricket to get big boost in New York state (December 14, 2021)

This unprecedented infrastructure investment will transform the landscape for professional cricket and enable the United States to host global events over the next decade and beyond, it said.

Besides international games, world-class T20 action will be played annually with MLC bringing the best cricketers in the world to play in cricket-specific venues with natural turf wickets and first-class amenities for fans.

“Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world and the opportunity to invest in the launch of the first professional T20 league in the United States is an exciting venture we are delighted to be part of,” said Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman.

“Cricket’s grassroots growth in recent years across the US has been energizing to see and we are thrilled to be able to help take a sport we are both so passionate about to the next level as part of a fantastic group of investors in Major League Cricket.”

“I share the vision Major League Cricket has for the launch of a world-class T20 cricket league and the potential for the United States to become one of the leading cricket nations in the world,” said Soma Somasegar.

“I am delighted to be part of a dynamic group of investors who will help the sport reach that level through an unprecedented commitment of resources by MLC to developing the sport.”

“The ceiling for cricket’s growth in the United States is incredibly high, with the passion for the game at the grassroots level I’ve observed in Texas proof of its potential,” said Anurag Jain.

Read: Satya Nadella, Shantanu Narayen among prominent investors in US’ T20 league (May 20, 2022)

“I am proud to be part of a group of investors committed to rapidly accelerating cricket’s progress through Major League Cricket,” he said. “The plans MLC have laid out to develop infrastructure and build a foundation for professional cricket to thrive nationwide puts the sport on a tremendous trajectory and I am excited to support this vision.”

“To have the opportunity to invest in not just the launch of a world-class T20 league with Major League Cricket but in the sport’s expansive rise across America with the development plans MLC has in place is a tremendous opportunity,” said Sanjay Govil, “I am so pleased to join with a group of like-minded investors who also love the game and are committed to supporting cricket’s growth in the US over the coming years,” he added.

Additional Series a round investors included Mihir Worah, Former Chief Investment Officer, PIMCO; Preetish Nijhawan, Co-founder, Akamai; Manish Parikh, Co-founder and CEO, Icon Systems Inc; Vikram Ramani, CTO Banking, FIS Global Sankar Kaliaperumal, Managing Director, Accenture; Dhigha Sekaran, Director at Meta and former Microsoft Executive; Shantanu Narayen, Chairman and CEO, Adobe; Samir Bodas , Co-founder and CEO, ICertis; and Sanjay Parthasarathy, Chief Product Officer, Avalara, and a former Microsoft executive.

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