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Albuquerque will host its first-ever cricket tournament at Balloon Fiesta Park

Albuquerque will host its first-ever cricket tournament at Balloon Fiesta Park


ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) It's not well known in the United States despite being one of the most popular sports in the world, but cricket is making a breakthrough in Albuquerque this weekend, with the city hosting its first major tournament.

The Sandias will be the setting for this year's Bhakta cricket tournament, taking place for the first time in Albuquerque history at Balloon Fiesta Park. The city brought out two-time World Cup cricket winner Yuvraj Singh for the opening ceremony this morning, kicking off the Memorial Day weekend event. “The way Albuquerque has welcomed cricket is amazing,” Singh said.

336 athletes from the United States, Panama and India have come to Balloon Fiesta Park to enjoy the competition over the next four days. It took six months to organize the event, with the city spending $200,000 to build six cricket fields in the park. “Albuquerque will tap into a huge market of avid fans and cricket players,” said Dave Simon, Albuquerque's Parks and Recreation Director.

“It has a good economic impact on the city,” said Jyoti Bhakata, Cricket Club Southwest.

“Albuquerque has ideal weather that Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles don't have when we play tournaments in those cities. It was always raining or we were inconvenienced in some way or the other,” says Bhakata.

The city agrees that it expects the tournament to have more than $1 million in economic impact as visitors spend money in the city. “We can definitely try to make it a cricket city in the future,” said Bhakata.

Organizers say they are already in discussions to host other tournaments here in the near future. “Albuquerque is a cricket town now,” Simon said.

The tournament is free to attend and also overlaps with the Albuquerque Wine Festival this weekend.




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