Indian American cricket enthusiast Jignesh (Jay) Pandya has announced plans to build eight cricket stadiums across the United States. The project intends to professionalize cricket in the county and the Gujarat-born businessman plans to complete it within an estimate of $2.4 billion, his company Global Sports Ventures announced on January 30.

The eight proposed stadiums, each having a capacity of 26,000 people in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Illinois and California, would create as many as 17,800 new jobs in the US, Pandya, chairman of Global Sports Ventures, told PTI. A press release issued by Global Sports Ventures said each stadium “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 release, of the total jobs to be created by the multi-purpose entertainment stadiums and lifestyle centers, 1,500 will be construction-related and 725 will be permanent jobs at each location. It added that there will be “opportunities in medical and rehab services; merchandising and procurement; media and broadcasting; tourism development; security; logistics and transportation; and, player, coaches and support staff.” He said that Americans are the biggest sports lovers in the world and the sports economy of the country itself is whooping $87 billion, compared to the $6 billion of India.

The Pennsylvania-based Global Sports Ventures will also sign a $70 million licensing agreement with the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) as the first step in growing the popular sport in the US. The licensing agreement was first reported by Forbes last September. In October, Pandya announced that he was buying the Caribbean Premier League team St Lucia Zouks, which is captained by former West Indies skipper Darren Sammy.
 The real estate developer, who had been travelling across the globe with his two sons to watch international cricket matches, said, at most of the venues, they found that the audiences were mostly from either India, or the United States.“So there is a great market and readymade audience for cricket in the US,” Pandya said.

The new stadiums would be part of what he described as lifestyle centers which would comprise of high-rise residential complex, shopping centers, entertainment centers and office complexes. Pandya said that the objective is to professionalize cricket in the US by creating a league that allows athletes to compete at the highest level while providing fans and audience the ability to enjoy the game at these world-class facilities.

“This will be a strong foundation when the International Cricket Council (ICC) hosts any tournaments in line with its strategic framework for USA cricket, potentially hosting the ICC World Twenty 20 in 2024,” he added.

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