Major League Cricket secures $120M funding from Microsoft CEO and others to launch in U.S.

(Major League Cricket Photo)

Major League Cricket is tapping into the tech and business communities to secure major funding for its planned launch in the U.S.

The league announced Wednesday that it has raised an initial $44 million Series A/A1 round and secured $76 million more to put $120 million toward getting professional cricket off the ground.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Soma Somasegar, managing director of Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group, are among the lead investors. Nadella has previously spoken of the passion he has had for the sport since childhood.

MLC plans to use the funds primarily to build premier cricket-specific stadiums and training centers “to develop a new generation of American star cricketers,” the league said in a news release. The infrastructure, which includes plans to build a facility at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Wash., will “transform the landscape for professional cricket and enable the United States to host global events over the next decade and beyond.”

The Seattle region is already home to three adult cricket leagues with more than 3,500 members. A booming interest in youth programs, which GeekWire profiled in 2019, has attracted 500 players. A Minor League Cricket team called the Seattle Thunderbolts, backed by tech investors, also got up and running last year.

All of these teams and programs would use the Marymoor Cricket Community Park, a multi-purpose facility that could also host professional cricket events, including Major League Cricket, U.S. National Team and potential World Cup and other major international matches.

“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,” Somasegar said in a statement. “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.”

Other investors include: 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; Ross Perot Jr., chairman, The Perot Group; Tanweer Ahmed, CEO, PAK Foods, CEO, OUR Energy and owner of Prairie View Cricket Complex; and the Baheti Family, owners of YASH Technologies.

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