The Knight Riders Group (KRG), backed by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, alongside actor Juhi Chawla and businessman Jay Mehta, is investing in a 10,000-capacity cricket stadium near Los Angeles, as reported in Variety.
Located at a 15-acre land parcel in Great Park, Irvine, Southern California, some 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles, the plan is driven by Major League Cricket (MLC). The org has revealed that an exclusive negotiating agreement with the city of Irvine to move forward with lease negotiations and design approvals has been approved. The investment in the stadium is likely to be in the range of $30 million, Variety understands.
KRG are owners of the Kolkata Knight Riders team in the lucrative Indian Premier League cricket tournament and Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League.
The stadium, which will have the capacity to be expanded, will be designed by architects HKS and will be home to MLC’s Southern California-based franchise, in the heart of one of the largest cricket-loving populations in the U.S., including an estimated 100,000 cricket fans with a further 200,000 more located in Los Angeles County. Two Minor League Cricket teams, the SoCal Lashings and Hollywood Master Blasters, along with local adult and youth leagues in the area provide a base of grassroots support for cricket in the region.
The stadium plans include state-of-the-art training facilities, locker rooms, luxury suites, dedicated parking, concessions, field lighting and an international-grade pitch to meet International Cricket Council (ICC) accreditation. There are two major events that the proposed stadium, if completed in time, could host – the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2024, which will be co-hosted by the U.S. and the West Indies, and if cricket is included in the 2028 Olympic Games to be held in Los Angeles, which the ICC is bidding for. U.S.A Cricket is also expected to bid for future men’s and women’s World Cup tournaments.
“Our investment in MLC in America is based on our belief in the exciting future of cricket in the U.S.A and is well aligned to our strategy of establishing Knight Riders as a global brand in T20 cricket,” said Khan, per an MLC press release. “Plans to build a world class cricket stadium in the greater Los Angeles area is exciting for us and MLC. This will no doubt have a transformational impact for cricket in one of the world’s most iconic metropolitan destinations.”
Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan, co-founders, MLC, added: “Great Park’s position as a hub for community recreation and its array of first-class sports facilities makes it an ideal location for the addition of a venue serving the local cricket-loving community and the broader Greater Los Angeles region with major international cricket events set to take place there.”