LAUDERHILL — Several hundred professional cricket players are expected to take part in the third annual T20 U.S. Cricket Open on Dec. 1– 4 at the Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium, 3700 NW 11th Place, Lauderhill.

The park's cricket ground is the main venue for the four-day sports event. Other games in the tournament will be played at Miramar Regional Park in Miramar and Brian Piccolo Park in Cooper City.

This is the first time that T20 U.S. Cricket games have been played in an “open” style format in which teams must qualify to play, comparable to golf and tennis. This is also the first time the prize pool has risen to a record-setting $50,000, according to tournament Director Jeff Miller.

“Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world. The T20 Cricket Open will bring more than 600 players, their families, management teams, sponsors, international and national visitors and Florida cricket fans to Broward County,” said Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness.

 “One hotel is sold out (and) others are experiencing an increase in business, as will retailers, restaurants, entertainment venues and all businesses in Broward County that serve and support the tourism industry,” Holness said.

Plans for the tournament were announced at a news conference attended by representatives from Cricket Council USA and the South Florida Cricket Alliance, along with Holness, Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca and Lauderhill Mayor Richard J. Kaplan.

John A. Wash, president of Club Operations for the International Polo Club Palm Beach and Judy Gibson, the club's marketing director, expressed interest in hosting some of the games in 2012, when the tournament moves from 32 to an anticipated 64 teams.

Holiday Inn & Suites in Sunrise, which has 280 rooms, is fully booked during that week, according to Jim Mullins, director of sales and marketing. The hotel serves as the official T20 U.S. Cricket Open tournament headquarters.

The cricket ground at Broward Central Regional Park is the only one in North America to be certified for international tournaments by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

An opening ceremony and reception will be held at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, at the park and the championship trophy presentation will take place at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, also at the park.

Cricket is played throughout the Indian subcontinent, which has a 1.5 billion population. Cricket-loving nations include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the countries of the West Indies. It is among the top three most popular sports in Australia, Britain, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Afghanistan and Mauritius.


WHAT: Third annual T20 U.S. Cricket Open

Dec. 1– 4

WHERE: Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium, 3700 NW 11th Pl., Lauderhill

Jeff Miller, 305-606-7603 or 561-361-1700 or