Thursday, April 18, 2024

USA Cricket provides approval for 2021 edition of American Premiere League

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Photo Credit: USA Cricket

  • Approval granted by USA Cricket for 2021 edition of APL to be played at the Yogi Berra baseball stadium in New Jersey in September
  • Clarification issued over player eligibility and role of APL within domestic structure

USA Cricket has today confirmed its decision to approve the 2021 American Premiere League (APL), an exhibition series of matches to be held at the Yogi Berra baseball stadium in New Jersey between September 20th – 30th, 2021, and which is organized and promoted by American Sports & Entertainment Group (ASEG). 

As is widely known, USA Cricket has entered into a long-term commercial agreement with Major League Cricket, which has agreed to invest, among other things, in the development of stadia, other cricketing infrastructure, the USA national teams, and in staging annual Major League Cricket and Minor League Cricket Twenty20 events.  In return for that investment, USA Cricket granted to MLC exclusivity to operate its events as the premier Twenty20 competitions in the United States. 

Although the 2021 APL is scheduled to briefly overlap with the dates of the recently announced Toyota Minor League Cricket Championship (that runs from July 31st – October 3rd, 2021), the sanction has been granted on the understanding that the format and schedule proposed for the APL does not compete with either Minor League Cricket or Major League Cricket.  Instead, the APL’s primary objective is to drive local fan engagement and increase the popularity of the sport in the New Jersey region through its unique team composition and competition structure. 

ASEG Chairman, Mr Jay Mir, said “We are pleased that USA Cricket has endorsed our efforts to promote cricket in the USA through its approval of the APL in 2021.  We recognize that cricket is taking significant steps forward under USA Cricket’s leadership, and that its recent partnership with MLC and the launch of Minor League Cricket has helped to put in place a robust nationwide domestic structure and pathway around which the future of the sport can be built.  Out of respect for those efforts, and in recognition of USA Cricket’s prior exclusive arrangement with MLC, APL has agreed, among other things, that its event will not include any of the 450 players that have been already contracted to participate in MiLC, but that it will include former international players and provide opportunities to other local domestic players, as well as creating specific slots within the team rosters for talented youngsters.”

USA Cricket Chief Executive, Iain Higgins, added, “We are seeing a significant number of applications for domestic cricket events to be approved by USA Cricket under its regulations.  With so many private competitions, it is sometimes difficult to make sure that they complement rather than compete with each other.  We are very supportive of the enormous efforts that have gone into the creation of Minor League Cricket by MLC and all of its team owners, and we are delighted to see Minor League Cricket establish itself as a crucial part of the cricketing domestic structure and pathway to the national team.  

Given some of the early aspirations expressed by the APL and its proposed structure and schedule, we had identified the potential for it to be a direct competitor to Minor League Cricket.  However, following numerous discussions with APL over the past few weeks, we are pleased to agree terms on which it could be sanctioned by USA Cricket in 2021 on the explicit understanding that it is not seeking to compete with Minor League Cricket or Major League Cricket, but rather to provide an exclusive entertainment experience that can help to promote the sport of cricket to new and existing fans within the New Jersey region.

The continuing evolution of our sanctioning progress is helping us to develop a more coordinated domestic cricketing structure that will provide increased playing opportunities to players across the country.  It will ensure that other events like the APL, when structured correctly, can help to play a complementary role to the efforts of USA Cricket and MLC in growing the game across the country.”

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