New Zealand and Sri Lanka will make cricketing history in May when the two countries meet in Florida to take part in the first ever Twenty20 international between two full ICC members in the United States.
The Kiwis and Sri Lankans will play three games at the Central Broward Regional Park Cricket Stadium in Lauderhill which is the only ICC approved cricket stadium in the US and is capable of holding up to 15,000 spectators'.
The three games are a result of a strategic partnership with New Zealand Cricket which was finalised during a week of talks with United States Cricket Association Chief Executive Donald Lockerbie.
Commenting on the announcement Lockerbie said, "We are experiencing increasing demand for “Destination USA” cricket events from many Full Member ICC countries and the Sri Lanka vs. New Zealand series will bring - as forecasted - world class cricket to the USA."
"The USA National Team will also participate in warm-up matches for the full members. Through the strategic collaboration with New Zealand Cricket we now have the additional administrative support and knowledge base to be able to commercialize these opportunities and ultimately grow the revenue streams from one of the world’s largest advertising markets."
"The planned creation of a commercial vehicle with New Zealand Cricket is designed to serve a number of purposes. Firstly, it provides a clear focus on generating revenue, as the commercial rights will be separated from cricket operations."
"Secondly, the entity will be responsible for creating and/or sourcing cricket content. Finally, and most importantly, it provides an avenue for investment in USA Cricket that will be hugely attractive to both US and international investors who appreciate the potential of this market and have a love for the game."
Justin Vaughan, Chief Executive of New Zealand Cricket said "Given the ‘door to cricket’ has been opened to investment through the sale of Indian Premier League franchises, this model is a logical step to raising the capital required to take cricket in the US to another level."
"The structure proposed is a wonderful opportunity for someone to get in on the ground floor, particularly given the growing level of interest in the US cricket market." he added.
This is a major step forward for cricket in the United States. With IPL commissioner Lalit Modi already planning to host IPL games in 2011 the future of Twenty20 cricket looks to have reached a milestone and it attentions have turned to the untapped fortunes on offer in the United States.