The BCCI is set to incorporate two new franchises into the Indian Premier League (IPL) fold, increasing the total number of teams to 10. A formal approval in this regard is expected at the cricket board’s 89th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on December 24.
Where could the two new franchises be based?
According to a BCCI official, Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Lucknow and Guwahati are on the BCCI’s radar. Pune too is an option. Two would be picked. It is learnt that Ahmedabad leads the race.
The renovated Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad is said to be the world’s largest cricket stadium with a seating capacity of 110,000. Built at a cost of Rs 700 crore, the stadium was scheduled to host its first cricket match in March this year. The pandemic upset the plan, but according to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, the new stadium is set to host a day-night Test during England’s tour of India in February-March next year.
Gujarat had an IPL franchise for two years, in 2016 and 2017, when Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals had been banned in the aftermath of the 2013 betting and spot-fixing scandal.
Gujarat Lions were based out of Rajkot, but Motera in Ahmedabad has been an established and traditional venue in Indian cricket. It was where Sunil Gavaskar reached his 10,000 Test runs in 1987. Seven years later, at the same venue, Kapil Dev had eclipsed Richard Hadlee’s Test record of 431 wickets.
Who would own the new franchises?
That would be picked through a bidding process, According to the BCCI official, the venues/cities would be picked first followed by an invitation to tender. 📣 Follow Express Explained on Telegram
Why is the BCCI bringing on new franchises?
After the 2020 IPL, BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal revealed that the Indian board brought home Rs 4,000 crore as revenue from the year’s tournament, with TV viewership rising by about 25 per cent from last year. It is learnt that the BCCI officials are of the view that given the current situation, where uncertainty looms over hosting international cricket and closed doors matches cancelling out gate receipts, a bigger IPL is a better and more viable source of revenue.
“See, 70 per cent of the revenue that the BCCI earns from hosting international cricket, goes to state associations and affiliated members. The IPL fills the BCCI coffers. Revenue earned from the tournament allows the BCCI to develop infrastructure, invest in domestic and grassroots cricket,” a state association president told The Indian Express.
As per the current deal, effective until 2022, the official broadcaster of the IPL pays the Board Rs 3,270 crore per year. Two extra teams and more matches will see an increase in the broadcast revenue. And whoever becomes the tournament’s title sponsor next year, the contract amount would be negotiated with an eye to an expanded IPL.
What could the response from business houses be like?
When the BCCI had temporarily brought in two new franchises, Pune and Rajkot, for two years, five bidders had placed bids despite the fact that it was going to be only a two-year association. Eventually, the Sanjeev Goenka-owned New Rising consortium and mobile phone company Intex had won ownership rights of the two new franchises. Though there is a slowdown because of the pandemic, the BCCI believes there will be keen interest in bagging rights for the two new teams.
Can a bigger IPL pave the way for a re-entry of Deccan Chargers and Kochi Tuskers?
The BCCI official rules out the possibility. The BCCI is embroiled in arbitration proceedings with the two now-defunct IPL franchises. And according to the official, an out-of-court settlement could be the road ahead.
How will the BCCI fit in additional number of matches?
The IPL has a fixed window, late March to early-June latest. But the BCCI previously had hosted a 10-team IPL in 2011, with Kochi Tuskers and Pune Warriors as two extra teams. A total of 74 matches were played that season between April 8 and May 28. The IPL currently has 60 matches. Two extra teams and additional matches are expected to be incorporated through more double-headers.
Will an expanded IPL help Indian cricketers?
Rahul Dravid believes it will. “From a cricketing talent perspective, we are ready for an expansion. There are some incredible young talent in India that are waiting for the opportunity at the big stage. We have seen it this year. We will see a lot of new faces coming up if they get an opportunity,” the former India captain, who now helms the National Cricket Academy, had said during a book launch event last month.
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