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Nadella, Narayen among tech CEOs investing in cricket's American dream

Cricket may not be as popular a sport in the U.S. as elsewhere in the world, but some high-profile CEOs and investors are trying to change that.

As the Men's T20 Cricket World Cup, co-hosted by the U.S. for the first time, ramps up, investors have pumped nearly a billion dollars into their American ambition.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen are among the executives investing in the new U.S. professional league, Major League Cricket. Other cricket investors include Iconic Ventures, Madrona Venture Group and executives from Google.

"What gets me excited is seeing if cricket can become a mainstream sport in the U.S.," said Soma Somasegar, venture capitalist and managing director at Madrona.

Somasegar and Nadella are among the key owners of Seattle's cricket team, named the Orcas. They're also investors in the overall league.

"Satya [Nadella] and I have been talking about bringing cricket to America for many years," Somasegar told CNBC.

Nadella is such a die-hard cricket fan that Microsoft has a cricket field at its campus in Bellevue, Washington.

"A lot of us immigrants grew up with this sport. We'd study and watch cricket — on repeat," said Somasegar.

In total, nearly $850 million is currently in the process of being invested in building a viable cricket league in the U.S., people familiar with the funding said. The people asked not to be named because the funding information is private.

Currently, there are six professional teams in Major League Cricket, with each team expected to spend between roughly $75 million and $100 million over the coming years. That includes the cost of putting together a team, hiring the right talent and building stadiums where live cricket matches can be played.

Adding to the