The owners of Kolkata Knight Riders say they hope to play a role in establishing cricket in “the world's most sophisticated sports and media market”, after investing in Major League Cricket in the United States.
The Knight Riders Group, who own the IPL franchise in Kolkata, as well as the Caribbean Premier League franchise in Trinidad and Tobago, have become stakeholders in the venture in America.
“For several years now, we have been expanding the Knight Riders brand globally and closely watching the potential for T20 cricket in the USA,” Shah Rukh Khan, a co-owner of Knight Riders Group, said.
“We are convinced that Major League Cricket has all the pieces in place to execute on its plans and we look forward to making our partnership an enormous success in the coming years.”
Venky Mysore, the chief executive of Kolkata Knight Riders, said expansion into the US is part of the group’s “long-term strategy”.
“We feel fortunate to have been consistently recognised as one of the best franchises in T20 cricket and have become one of the fastest growing sports brands in the world.
“As T20 cricket expands internationally, we are flattered by the regular inbound requests to play a major role in growing the sport abroad.
“We have had a keen interest in the developments in the United States and our expansion into the US is consistent with our long-term strategy.
“We look forward to the new challenge of building cricket in the world's most sophisticated sports and media market.
“We believe that we can bring a huge amount of expertise to help make Major League Cricket realise the potential that it undoubtedly has.”
American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) say Major League Cricket “will deliver the highest quality professional T20 cricket for US cricket fans”.
The league will feature international players from the US and around the world, with a focus on developing a homegrown player pool for USA Cricket and the league.
“By adding the Knight Riders Group to our family of world-class and diverse investors, [it] is a huge validation of our vision for the new league,” Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan, representatives of ACE, were quoted as saying.
“As USA Cricket’s official partner in developing a professional T20 league in America, we have a shared vision to bring world-class professional cricket to the world’s largest sports market.
“The announcement today is a significant step forward in showing the potential of the American market, and we are delighted to have the backing and expertise of the Knight Riders Group to help us achieve this vision.”
The US national team play in the same competition as the UAE. They were second in the World Cricket League Division Two points table – with UAE in fifth – before the tournament was suspended because of Covid-19.