Plans to develop one of the leading cricket venues in the nation in the Pacific Northwest took a significant step forward on Tuesday in King County, Washington. A Motion of Support for a Major League Cricket (MLC) facility development at Marymoor Park was unanimously passed on February 22, 2022, by King County Council. This follows resolutions passed by both Bellevue City Council in November 2021 and Redmond City Council in January 2022, demonstrating broad local support for the project and its value for a community with a fast-growing passion for cricket.
The state-of-the-art cricket facility at a 20-acre site located at the park would serve as a venue for professional cricket events along with league and tournament play by the local community. Marymoor Park, located in Redmond, WA, is King County’s largest, oldest, and most popular park, with more than three million annual visitors. Located only twenty minutes from downtown Seattle, the park sits at the heart of fast-growing tech hubs in Bellevue and Redmond.
Marymoor Cricket Community Park would serve the growing demand for cricket in King County, which has seen a rapid increase in its cricket-loving population over the last decade, addressing the absence of a first-class cricket facility in the region. King County and the greater Puget Sound region is home to three adult cricket leagues with over 3,500 members in total and fast-growing youth cricket programs totaling more than 500 participants and 200 games per year. The venue would host youth and adult cricket matches along with other community events in the multi-purpose facility.
The facility would host professional cricket events, including Major League Cricket, U.S. National Team and potential World Cup and other major international matches, generating significant economic impact, tourism and worldwide exposure for King County. The United States is set to co-host the 2024 T20 Men’s World Cup, with USA Cricket expected to bid for hosting rights to future men’s and women’s international competitions.
“As our region grows, we see more interest in cricket, which is one of the most popular sports in the world. I can’t think of a better place for a world-class cricket pitch than East King County and especially Marymoor Park,” said King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci. “I am excited to work with the community and our city partners to explore whether we can bring the joy of cricket to Marymoor.”
“Cricket is one of the world’s most popular sports and establishing a facility here in King County is a great opportunity not only for professional events, but also for the local community and fans to play and engage,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “I look forward to working with partners in support of this potential addition to the sports fabric of our region.”
“While the popularity of certain sports may ebb and flow in our region, what remains constant is their ability to bring people together. In the past, a generation raised on football and baseball did not understand soccer, which is now popular throughout the United States. As cricket rises in popularity throughout King County, I look forward to seeing how it, too, becomes as popular as soccer is today,” said King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer.
The Marymoor Cricket Community Park site design is intended to complement the park’s outstanding greenery, blending into its surrounding environment, with a lightweight grass berm design featuring a pavilion, light and broadcast towers, a digital scoreboard and restrooms. The grassy lawn will provide for a communal, picnic-style environment to watch the game. The venue is expected to accommodate 4-6,000 spectators, with the ability to scale up to a capacity over 10,000 for larger events.
Early-stage rendering of Marymoor Cricket Community Park
Major League Cricket, America’s first professional T20 cricket competition, represents the most ambitious and transformational venture ever undertaken in the American cricket landscape. Focused on staging world class Twenty20 cricket for American cricket fans, MLC will feature top players from around the globe and provide a stage for domestic cricketers to showcase their talents to a worldwide audience. MLC stadium developments have already been announced in Grand Prairie, near Dallas, TX; at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose, CA; and in the Town of Morrisville near Raleigh, NC.
“Major League Cricket has been incredibly impressed by the passion for cricket shown by the community in King County and the broader Seattle region, which boasts one of the largest participation bases for the sport in the country,” said Sameer Mehta, co-founder of Major League Cricket. “We are grateful to all the council members of King County and the Cities of Bellevue and Redmond for their unanimous support for this project that will mean so much to the thousands of cricket fans in the area.”
The Seattle region is already home to a Minor League Cricket team, the Seattle Thunderbolts, who will play at a new MLC training center at Tollgate Farm Park in North Bend for the 2022 season.
Following the passage of the Motion of Support, MLC will now work with the City of Bellevue and King County to undertake site diligence, prepare and submit a development plan for the proposed site and finalize key commercial terms, with construction projected to begin in 2023.
Janice Zahn, Bellevue Councilmember:
“I was introduced to cricket at the Seattle Thunderbolts community day last year by many community leaders, including Bellevue School Board Member and cricket mom Jane Aras, and it was great to see the community bond over the game of cricket, samosas and chai. I am excited to work with the community’s cricket leaders and grateful that Bellevue and King County are supporting this growing sport and multicultural community.”
Vandana Slatter, Washington State Representative for the 48th Legislative District:
“I’m excited to see King County pass a motion of support recognizing the need for a first-class cricket facility in our area. This is a fantastic project. Cricket has become increasingly popular in recent years and a facility would help foster that interest and make it easier for our cricket loving community to play and watch the sport. This investment would also bring visitors to the area, growing our local economy and putting us on the map in the cricket community.”
Lynne Robinson, Mayor of Bellevue:
“This is another exciting step in the process of bringing a cricket field to Bellevue. I want to commend all the local cricket fans for their diligent work on this issue and enthusiasm for the sport.”
Angela Birney, Mayor of Redmond:
“The City of Redmond enthusiastically joins the County in support of the Marymoor Cricket Community Park. Yesterday’s vote is great news for Redmond’s growing cricket community and an important step to further recreational opportunities for all on the Eastside.”
Salman Taj, Vijay Beniwal and Phani Chitneni, Owners of the Seattle Thunderbolts:
“The Seattle Thunderbolts are tremendously excited about this much-needed proposed development that would allow the cricket community to see thrilling Minor League Cricket games at an outstanding venue for our players and fans.”