"Today is a historic day in cricket"
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has sold city-based team franchise rights for the inaugural Women’s IPL for £465 million.
The BCCI has confirmed the five franchises set to compete in the first season.
Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Lucknow have been unveiled as the five successful host cities.
The respective owner bids have combined for £465 million. This includes a top bid of approximately £128 million from the Adani Group for the Ahmedabad franchise.
Among the owners are the five entities that currently oversee the men’s IPL franchises Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore ahead of the tournament getting underway in March 2023.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah said: “Today is a historic day in cricket as the bidding for teams of the inaugural WPL broke the records of the inaugural men’s IPL in 2008.
“This marks the beginning of a revolution in women’s cricket and paves the way for a transformative journey ahead not only for our women cricketers but for the entire sports fraternity.”
The tournament’s introduction comes having seen a three-team Women’s T20 Challenge coinciding with the men’s IPL since 2018.
BCCI president Mr Roger Binny said: “I congratulate the winners for making successful bids to own WPL teams.
“The league will give players from India and abroad a chance to learn and grow together.
“It will pave the way for development at the grassroots level with the inclusion of more women cricketers.
“I would also like to congratulate the BCCI team for the smooth execution of the auction process. I’m confident that the league will help our women cricketers shine on the global stage.”
The BCCI has already sold the tournament’s media rights for the next five years to Viacom 18 for £94 million which translates into a per-match-value of £700,000.
In a statement, Mumbai Indians owner Nita Ambani said:
“This is a historic moment for Indian cricket, and we are delighted to be a part of it.”
“India’s women cricketers have always made the nation proud in the global sporting arena – be it the World Cup, Asian Cup or the recent Commonwealth Games.
“This new Women’s League will once again shine a global spotlight on the talent, power, and potential of our girls.”
The men’s IPL is one of the most lucrative tournaments in world sport.
In June 2022, Viacom18 paid £2.4 billion to win an online auction for two packages of digital rights to the men’s IPL cricket.
Disney, which held the TV and digital rights to IPL for the past five seasons, won only the broadcast TV rights but agreed to pay £2.3 billion for them.