Indian born American citizen Jignesh Pandya is taking the next step to achieve his dream of professionalising cricket in the US. After trying to start a T20 league in the US, he plans to spend $2.4 billion to build eight stadiums.
The eight proposed stadiums are planned in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Illinois and California.
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 centres and office complexes.
Each of these locations will cost an estimated $300 million and will generate approximately $8 billion in direct and indirect salaries over the next 20 years, according to the IndUS Business Journal.
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. He also has franchise ownership of multiple Pizza Hut locations in and around southeast Pennsylvania, US. Pandya’s company, Global Sports Venture, is also the offshoot of his real estate business.
Pandya said the objective is to professionalize cricket in the US by creating a league. He wants players to compete at the highest level while fans enjoy the game at the world-class facilities. If the ICC decides to host any International tournament with US in mind, a World Twenty20 in 2024 could be a possibility.
In September 2016, USA Cricket Association (USACA) had announced a $70 million deal with Global Sports Ventures to licence the rights for a T20 league.
USACA has been under suspension by the ICC since June 2015. It cannot sanction any cricket matches in the country. So, any player participating in a T20 league in the USACA could face the ire of its own country’s board.
Last year, West Indies and India had played two T20 matches in Florida, which saw a good turnaround among the local crowd.