TOI understands that Satya Nadella, the Indian-American business executive and the CEO at Microsoft, along with Shantanu Narayen, another Indian-American CEO at Adobe Inc are coming on board too. While Khan’s Knight Riders franchise will be based out of Los Angeles, Nadella is about to sign on the dotted line to settle for Seattle, home to America’s tech industry, where Microsoft operates from.
The 50-year-old Nadella, a self-confessed fan of ML Jaisimha, and a cricketer himself when he studied at the Hyderabad Public School, is busy working on a state-of-the-art cricket oval at Redmond, Washington.
Narayen, another Hyderabad based tech executive like Nadella and seven years his elder, is based out of Paolo Alto, California, where ACE is headquartered.
Those in the know told TOI “Dallas-based real estate developer and businessman Ross Perot Jr is also expected to come on board as an investor”. Home to the legendary American football team Dallas Cowboys, Perot Jr is a minority stakeholder in the NBA team Dallas Mavericks.
In November, ACE signed a 15-year lease to acquire AirHogs Stadium, earlier a 6000-seat capacity minor-league baseball facility in the city suburb to develop it into a cricketing infrastructure and sources say the ACE expects the venue to host the opening season of the MLC in 2022.
Sources further add that Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma is also in talks to come aboard the new T20 league. The 42-year-old CEO of the fin-tech company recently collaborated with the BCCI when Paytm extended its contract with the cricket board to remain the title sponsor for all domestic and international cricket in India until 2023.
“Sharma has been in talks with the ACE founders. We’re sure something is going to work out soon,” sources tracking developments said.
Speaking with TOI last week, ACE co-founder Vijay Srinivasan had underlined the need to “have a vision” that will drive the game’s philosophy in America forward.
“In that, while the Indian diaspora will be a major driver for those plans, this is going to take a collective effort from everyone in the wider American cricketing community to be successful.
“We want to bring a truly world-class product to America which will inspire a wider audience to discover the joy of cricket,” Srinivasan said.
USA Cricket is in the process of co-bidding for a major global ICC event in the 2023-2031 cycle with Cricket West Indies.
The new league is operated by ACE, founded by Vineet Jain and Satyan Gajwani of the Times Group and Vijay Srinivasan and Sameer Mehta of Willow TV.