An Indian-American cricket enthusiast has announced plans to build as many as eight cricket stadiums across the US at an estimated cost of USD 2.4 billion (16000 crore) to professionalise the game in the country. The eight proposed stadiums, each having a capacity of 26,000 people in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Illinois and California, would create as many as 17,800 new jobs in the US, said Jignesh (Jay) Pandya, chairman of Global Sports Ventures.
Gujarat-born Pandya is a real estate developer in the US and had been travelling across the globe with his two sons to watch popular international cricket matches. At most of these venues, me and my sons found the audience mostly from either India or the United States. “So there is a great market and ready made audience for cricket in the US,” Pandya said.
Americans, he said are the biggest sports lovers in the world. Sports economy in the US itself is to the tune of USD 87 billion as compared to USD 6 billion in India. All these cricket stadiums in the US, Pandya said would be part of what he described as lifestyle centers which would comprise of high-rise residential complex, shopping centers, entertainment centers and office complexes.
Pandya said the objective is to professionalize cricket in the United States by creating a league that allows athletes to compete at the highest level while providing fans and audiences the ability to enjoy the game at all these world-class facilities.
“This will be a strong foundation when the International Cricket Council (ICC) hosts any tournaments in line with its strategic framework for USA cricket, potentially hosting the ICC World Twenty 20 in 2024,” Pandya said.