You better believe it! The Cricket World Cup is indeed coming to the United States in 2024!
The journey towards staging the World Cup in the US has not always been the smoothest, with some previous reports suggesting that the country would be stripped of hosting rights, but all of that has now been put to bed and the US can look ahead to welcoming the rest of the world.
There was talk of as many as five American cities being involved, but following an inspection from the International Cricket Council in September 2023, the list of host cities in the US was narrowed down to three.
New York, Florida and Dallas will be the US venues where the 2024 T20 Cricket World Cup will be staged.
Dallas and Florida already have existing cricket facilities in Grand Prairie and Broward County respectively, but the New York venue will be built from scratch.
While announcing the US venues, the ICC also stated that it would employ modular stadium technology to expand the capacities of the existing venues, with focus on the seating, media and the premium hospitality sections.
The staging of the World Cup in the United States is the continuation of a very deliberate push by the ICC and USA Cricket to break through the American market.
The American sports market is huge, with the nation's biggest leagues - NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB - placed amongst the most valuable in the world. They command billions of dollars from investors and sponsorships, ranging from global tech firms to betting companies.
Realistically, cricket is never really going to challenge the established order in the United States, but the hope amongst enthusiasts is that the sport can at least steal a reasonable share of the market.
Perhaps one day, the big betting companies splashing the cash all over the NBA and the NFL would consider cricket tournaments in the US marketable enough to push their betting offers and promotions to the American public.
In July, there was the inaugural Major League Cricket (MLC), styled after the Indian Premier League. MLC was generally well-received and reasonably successful, and has potentially set the stage for a more rapid growth for the sport in the coming years.
The global cricket body is also hoping that having the World Cup in America would strengthen its bid to have cricket included in the program for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
The United States is contributing 30% of the venues for the 2024 World Cup, with co-hosts, West Indies providing the other 70%. The International Cricket Council has also confirmed the 7 host venues from the West Indies - Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, St Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, and St Vincent & The Grenadines.
In terms of size, the 2024 T20 Cricket World Cup will be the biggest in the history of the tournament, as it will feature 20 teams for the first time. The T20 showpiece will be staged from 4 to 30 June. The global heavyweights in the cricket world will all be present, with India, Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, England and South Africa amongst the super powers whose participation has already been confirmed.
Let's now take a more detailed look at the host venues for the US leg of the 2024 T20 World Cup.
Located in the Dallas, Tarrant and Ellis Counties in Texas, Grand Prairie is the 15th most populous city in the state, with a population of 196,100 according to the 2020 census.
The Grand Prairie Stadium already has the experience of hosting high-level cricket matches, having been the home ground of the Texas Super Kings during Major League Cricket.
The stadium also hosted the MLC final between MI New York and Seattle Orcas in July, when West Indian superstar, Nicolas Pooran blasted an unbeaten 137 off just 55 balls to propel MI to the title.
The Grand Prairie Stadium was opened in May 2008 and served as the home ground for the Texas AirHogs baseball team up until the AirHogs folded in 2019.
The stadium was subsequently leased out to American Cricket Enterprises in November 2020, who began the $20 million redevelopment of the venue into a cricket facility in April 2022.
With almost 2 million inhabitants, Broward County is the second largest in Florida, in terms of population. Cricket fans around the world are in for an amazing experience when the World Cup heads to Miami in 2024!
Established in November 2007, the Broward County Stadium currently has a capacity of 20,000 spectators.
Up until now, the stadium is the only ground in the United States constructed primarily for cricket, and has hosted its fair share of international matches over the years.
In May 2010, the venue hosted its first international T20 match (between New Zealand and Sri Lanka), while it staged the United States' first ever One-Day International in September 2019 (against Papua New Guinea).
Broward County has been graced by some of the biggest stars in world cricket, with Indian batter, KL Rahul and his West Indian counterpart, Evin Lewis both striking centuries in the T20 international between the two nations in August 2016.
As at the time of the ICC's confirmation of the World Cup host cities, Nassau County did not have a cricket stadium, but that will change in 2024 when the brand new purpose-built 34,000 seater stadium is complete and ready to welcome the cricket world to New York.
Nassau County has a population of just under 1.4 million people, and is considered one of the most affluent counties in the United States.
The World Cup stadium is located at Eisenhower Park, 30 miles to the east of Manhattan. Hence, fans hoping to see the best cricket teams in the world live in action can easily make their way to the stadium.
Nassau County has a good history of hosting sports events, and is the venue for the yearly Belmont Stake, one of the biggest horse racing meets in the United States.