Major Cricket League is an upcoming professional T20 league in the United States. It is operated by American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) and sanctioned by USA cricket. It plans to begin play in 2023 with six teams in major US cities under a single entity model.
There have been various attempts to hold a T20 cricket league in the United States such as the short-lived Pro Cricket which played a single season in 2004 and the American Premier League, in partnership between the United States of America Cricket Association and New Zealand Cricket, modelled after domestic T20 competitions such as the Indian Premier League.
In 2019, USA Cricket was approved as a new associate member of the International Cricket Council, replacing the USACA- which had been expelled in 2017 due to governance issues. In November 2018, USA Cricket announced that it was seeking partners to establish a domestic T20 league in the country by 2021, with goals to engage existing fans and grow new ones. In May 2019, USA Cricket accepted a bid by American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) for a $1 billion investment, covering the league and other investments benefitting the US national teams. Its partners include Satyam Gajwani and Vineet Jain of The Times Group and Willow TV founders Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan.
In an annual general meeting on February 21,2020, it was stated that USA Cricket planned to launch a Major Cricket League in 2021 and a 22 team development league known as Minor Cricket League. In October 2020, USA Cricket reaffirmed plans to launch the Major Cricket League in 2022 as part of its foundational plan for 2020-23. On December 1,2020, it was announced that IPL's Kolkata Knight Riders would invest in ACE. During May 2021, it was announced that the MLC would be postponed until 2023 because of the lack of high quality cricket stadiums in the USA.
MLC is expected to begin with six teams. The league will use a single entity structure under which all teams are owned by ACE, with investors-operators for each team who hold stakes in the company.
USA Cricket's CEO Iain Higgins identified Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York and San Francisco as markets where the sport was most popular. On November 18,2020, it was announced that ACE would lease Air Hogs Stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas-based home of the former Texas AirHogs baseball team and convert it to a cricket specific facility that will host a Dallas- based team in Major Cricket League.
The format of the Minor Cricket League is the 27 participating teams are divided into Pacific and Atlantic Conferences. These are further divided into Western and Central Pacific; Eastern and Southern Atlantic. The games are set to be played on weekends. After the league stage, the play off qualification will be determined on a divisional basis. While the two in each division will progress to the PlayOffs where the division winner will take on the second place team from the opposite conference. For example- the West Division champion will be up against the Southern Division runner up. The winner of the quarter finals will forge ahead to the championship weekend. The teams that come from the conference semifinal will play each other in the national semifinal. The two teams advancing from the conference semifinals will play each other in a national final.
The competition is being played since it is being looked at as a platform for players eyeing America's maiden professional T20 league called Major Cricket League.