Global Sports Ventures will partner with real estate firm JLL's sports and entertainment business unit to develop mixed-use professional cricket stadiums in eight U.S. cities for a total investment of $2.4 billion, according to WXIA in Atlanta.
Each stadium will be home to a new U.S. Cricket League franchise and will also include a club house, retail, residential space, offices, dining and hotels. According to JLL, each stadium will cost between $70 million and $125 million, and the mixed-use developments will cost an additional $80 million to $100 million.
Developers are targeting markets where interest in cricket is strong: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington, DC. Once the teams are established, by 2020, the league will expand to between four and six more cities.
Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world, with more than 2 billion estimated followers, primarily in India, as well as in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, England, New Zealand, the Caribbean and South Africa. And these are devoted fans: When cricket rivals India and Pakistan faced off in the sport's 2015 World Cup, an estimated 1 billion people tuned in worldwide. For comparison, 114 million people watched Super Bowl XLIX earlier that month — an American record.
GSV Chairman Jignesh "Jay" Pandya is hoping that the growing Indian population in the U.S. will provide professional cricket the foothold it needs to gain popularity in this country, according to Newsweek, which noted that the Indian population in the U.S. nearly doubled from 2000 to 2.04 million in 2013.
Cricket could follow a path similar to that of soccer in the U.S. if officials miscalculate enthusiasm for the sport. Soccer made a big splash in the 1970s, bringing international superstars like Brazilian soccer player Pelé to American football stadiums around the country. But professional soccer failed to hold the interest of many U.S. fans.
The sport survived thanks to high youth soccer participation, the popularity of minor leagues and successful, high-profile series like the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. Now Major League Soccer teams are responding to demand by building new stadiums across the country.
English soccer star David Beckham is driving development of a $300 million stadium in Miami, and construction is underway on a $300 million venue for D.C. United in Washington, DC. Developers in Los Angeles and Minnesota are also building new soccer stadiums, and men's professional team Atlanta United will share the Falcons' $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz stadium when it opens later this year.