Not only did the Texas AirHogs leave the ranks of professional baseball, but now their home is as well, as AirHogs Stadium will be converted into a pro cricket facility, a move approved by Grand Prairie City Council.
Major League Cricket (MLC) will be the new tenant at AirHogs Stadium, which opened debuted in 2008 as the home of the American Association’s Grand Prairie AirHogs. The team played out of the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb before spending several seasons splitting time between Grand Prairie and Amarillo as the Texas AirHogs. (Here’s a look at our 2009 visit. Let’s hope the frosty bar is still functional or repairable. Yes, we did name it as a Ballpark of the Year.) Last month it was announced the AirHogs would be dropping out of the American Association.
The parent company of Major League Cricket, American Cricket Enterprises (ACE), is working with USA Cricket and the sports-architecture firm HKS on a redesign of the ballpark, which is scheduled to take place throughout 2021 before playing host to the Texas MLC franchise that is planned to launch in spring 2022, as well as a base for the USA Cricket National team and a premier High Performance Center. Major League Cricket is expected to fund the majority of the work; under a plan approved by the Grand Prairie City Council, the city will pay $1.3 million as well, with $200,000 slated for maintenance as well as a full rebate on taxes for construction materials.
“As the first Major League Cricket stadium in the United States, Grand Prairie represents a seminal moment for the sport in America, and we are incredibly excited to partner with the City of Grand Prairie to bring Major League Cricket to Dallas,” said Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan, co-founders of ACE and MLC, via press release. “Grand Prairie’s centralized location in the U.S. and the thriving Texas cricketing community, allied with the quality of the facility, made it the perfect site for us and we are certain that this is the beginning of a fruitful long-term partnership with the City that will bring much success.”
The renovation is also being billed as a way to bring international cricket play to the United States, including regional International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup and T20 World Cup Qualifiers for Men and Women, Cricket World Cup League 2 series, and International Series against local rivals Canada and the West Indies, as well as other contemporary nations.