A local developer wants to import a sport famous around the world — cricket — to the Dallas area. McKinney-based Thakkar Developers plans to build a new 15,000-seat cricket stadium in Allen, to open in 2021. It will be the first professional cricket stadium in Texas.
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game that involves two teams aiming to score more runs than the other, but no, it's not baseball. Invented by shepherds in England centuries ago and fancied by aristocrats, it is now that country's national sport.
The new stadium is part of a larger mixed-use development called Allen Sports Village, which will be located at the corner of Alma Drive and State Highway 121. The complex will include office space, retail and restaurants, residential units, a training center, events center, and two hotels.
Whether a professional cricket team will play in the new stadium has not been revealed, but USA Cricket recently unveiled a request for proposals for a new pro cricket league, with specific mention of the Dallas area as a hotbed for the sport. The start of the league, targeted for 2021, would be in line with the opening of the stadium.
Cricket claims fans throughout the UK, in southern Africa, the West Indies, and Australia. Sam Thakkar, CEO of the Perfect Group of Business (which includes Thakkar Developers), says he thinks the time is right for a cricket stadium in DFW, too.
"Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world," Thakkar says in a statement. "There are an estimated 20 million cricket fans in the United States. Plus, the growing Indian American population and increasing international community in North Texas makes the Allen Sports Village a perfect location for professional cricket."
The CricRealty Company is working with strategic partners, including Donnie Nelson of Amerock Investments, on Allen Sports Village commercial real estate projects, according to the release.
"We're thrilled to enter into this private-public partnership with the developers to bring this unique project to Allen," Allen Mayor Stephen Terrell says in a statement. "With a new international visitor base, we look forward to a big boost in tourism spending — which benefits businesses and residents alike."
In addition to professional cricket, the multi-use stadium will host other sporting events, concerts, and special events. Construction on the venue will begin in 2019.