Major League Cricket has announced plans to build a multi-million dollar cricket stadium in Irvine, specifically targeting land within the Great Park.

On Tuesday, April 26, the Great Park Board of Directors, within the capacity of the Irvine City Council, voted unanimously to support an exclusive negotiation agreement with Major League Cricket, with the intention of building an MLC stadium inside the park.

Major League Cricket shared the news on social media, adding that the funds are being invested by Shah Rhun Khan of the MLC Knight Riders Group based in Los Angeles. 

Steve Torelli, Great Park Manager, presented the item to the Great Park Board of Directors, adding that the plot of land would be approximately 20 acres in size. 

“The goal is to develop terms for the eventual development and lease of a permanent facility,” he said.

On Wednesday, May 4, an Irvine city official familiar with the project explained to Irvine Weekly the MLC will maintain a focus on the Great Park, but no official dollar amount is available. 

“Last week the Irvine City Council approved an exclusive negotiating agreement, which basically carves out a formal protected space to talk to developers, to try to sort through what a project would look like, how much it would cost, where it would go and how it would be operated – that’s the agreement in place with Major League Cricket,” the official said. “The dollar amount listed in various news articles is not something that the city has participated in developing or reviewed or vetted. So, we are really at the preliminary stages of this.”

As part of the exclusive negotiating agreement, the city will now spend the next 12 to 18 months researching what a cricket stadium looks like in the city, how it would work and what benefits it would bring to the city, according to the official.   

In a press release found on the MLC website, the organization announced that it would be expanding its cricket infrastructure into the greater Southern California region, with a focus on exploring Irvine. 

“MLC is committed to building outstanding infrastructure for cricket in key markets accessible to legions of cricket-loving fans. We’re grateful to the City of Irvine for agreeing to explore this development in the heart of Orange County,” said Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan, Co-Founders, Major League Cricket. “Great Park’s position as a hub for community recreation and its array of first-class sports facilities makes it an ideal location for the addition of a venue serving the local cricket-loving community and the broader Greater Los Angeles region with major international cricket events set to take place there.”

In Irvine, the city recently celebrated the opening of its first cricket pitch in March. In terms of size, the pitch, which is made of lighted natural grass, is 78-feet by 27-feet, with an outfield radius of 155 feet.

In regards to the recent cricket pitch opening in the city, Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan said she was excited to be able to support the sport’s growing popularity. 

“The popularity of cricket has grown over the past several years in Irvine, and this new pitch is foundational for the growth of our new youth cricket camps and activities,” Khan said. “Thank you to the community for working with city staff on this project so kids can enjoy playing cricket in addition to all of our other great youth sports.”