In the first major announcement since formalizing its strategic partnership with New Zealand Cricket, the USA Cricket Association's CEO Donald Lockerbie - after completing meetings in Dubai, UAE - advised today that Sri Lanka has confirmed and will play the BlackCaps in three Twenty20 internationals in late May 2010.

This match series represents the first ever cricket match played in the United States by two Full Member ICC countries. The series will be played at the ICC-approved Central Broward Regional Park Cricket Stadium in Lauderhill, Florida.

The partnership between USA Cricket and New Zealand Cricket is being structured in such a way as to encourage commercial enterprise, develop major cricket events, provide cricket services from New Zealand Cricket operations to USA national, regional and club programs, and to secure external investment opportunities to build and fund the growth of cricket in the USA.

Justin Vaughan, CEO 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.” He continued, “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.”

Mr. 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.” He added, “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.”

The announcement is timely given that IPL Commissioner, Lalit Modi and his COO, Sundar Raman have held talks with USA Cricket with a view to the US hosting IPL related events as early as 2011. USA Cricket is also interested in hosting ICC events in the future and is developing a bid committee to launch this initiative as well; notwithstanding the work that has been done dating back to mid-2009 to start a domestic T20 league of its own by 2012.

Mr. Lockerbie further stated, “These events and initiatives are a small indication of the amount of cricket content under consideration with our partners at New Zealand Cricket. We will be meeting with potential investors and event developers over the next few weeks and months to keep building our momentum. The interest is already high from potential investors in India and the US, and this is very encouraging.”