The United States Cricket Board has announced a billion-dollar partnership with Willow TV and The Times of India Group, which will not only back the USA in launching its T20 league but also develop and set-up new cricket infrastructure and sports academies in the country.
Reinstated to the International Cricket Board (ICC) just six months ago, the States cricket board ad proposed to launch its T20 league by 2021. The billion-dollar deal will further USA cricket’s vision to bring professional cricket to the world’s largest sports market. USA Cricket Team Seal ODI Status for First Time in History After Xavier Marshall Hits Hundred Against Hong Kong.
The board had earlier invited bids in November last year looking for partners that could help in developing, funding, constructing and launching the first professional T20 league as well as develop the infrastructure and grassroots programmes domestically.
The owners of Times group and Willow TV bid through the American Cricket Enterprises (ACE). ACE is backed by Times Internet vice-chairman Satyan Gajwani, Managing Director Vineet Jain and Willow TV founders Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan. Willow TV is the largest cricket broadcaster in North America. In addition to developing and launching the T20 league, the ACE will also fund the construction of many international-standard venues across the country and also support both the national men’s and women’s cricket teams. ACE is said to have outbid many other proposals.
“Cricket has the second largest audience in the world, and yet has little presence in the largest professional sports market," Satyan Gajwani of the Times of India Group said in a USA cricket press release. "We want to develop a lasting institution that brings to the U.S. the excitement and passion of 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."
“After a successful run in establishing the U.S. as a major broadcast market for international cricket, we are now excited to partner with USA Cricket to take American cricket to the highest levels through the new T20 league,” Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan of Willow TV said.
Paraag Marathe, the USA Cricket Board Chairman, called the deal a watershed moment for the game in the US and revealed that the ACE group provided a comprehensive vision for the growth of USA cricket.USA Cricket Announced as ICC's 105th Member.
“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,” said Marathe. “Vijay, Sameer, Satyan and Vineet provided a comprehensive vision for the growth of cricket in the U.S. 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.”
The partnership with ACE is USA cricket’s most ambitious project and further enhances the new cricket board’s vision to grow the game both domestically and on an international level and also expose cricket to the mainstream cricket. The nation’s old cricket board UASCA was expelled by the ICC in June 2017.
Since then the international cricket board had continued monitoring the US national cricket team even allowing them to play and compete in ICC tournaments even when the board was suspended. It also supervised the new cricket board. The US was recognised as an associate member of the ICC after the team achieved its best ever result at the World Cricket League, where it finished fourth. US cricket also gained ODI status for the first time.