India’s cricket board earned AU$806 million on Wednesday as it announced the winning bids to own five teams in the inaugural Women’s Premier League tournament, which is scheduled for March.
The women’s league will be an addition to the money-spinning Indian Premier League tournament for the world’s richest and most influential cricketing body.
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“Today is a historic day in cricket as the bidding for teams of inaugural #WPL broke the records of the inaugural men’s IPL in 2008!” Jay Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, tweeted on Wednesday
Shah said that the board had “garnered” about US$572 million from five winning bids.
“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,” he added.
Three of the five women’s league franchises – Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore – already own IPL teams. The other two are Adani Sportsline Pvt. Limited, owned by one of the world’s richest men, Gautam Adani, and Capri Global Holdings Pvt Limited.
The BCCI said that Adani’s firm made the highest bid of approximately AU$222 million to own the Ahmedabad team, followed by $157 million for Mumbai, $155 million for Bengaluru, $139 million for Delhi and $130 million for Lucknow.
Former England bowler and Fox Cricket commentator Isa Guha described the deal as “a landmark day for the women’s game”.
Indian batter Smriti Mandhana said it was a “pioneering move” and a “brilliant step forward for Indian women’s cricket”.
The announcement comes days after the BCCI announced a windfall of $164 million after Viacom18 won the media rights for the first five seasons of the new league.
The BCCI last year also sold the rights for the men’s IPL for $8.7 billion for five seasons and Viacom 18 – a joint venture between tycoon Mukesh Ambani’s Network 18 conglomerate and the US group Paramount Global – took the IPL streaming rights for $4.2 billion.
Shah said the new league would “bring necessary reforms in women’s cricket” and help create a new ecosystem to expand the sport.
A player auction will be held before the inaugural tournament in March. Each team can sign up to seven overseas players and a salary cap of around $2m will be imposed. A number of Australian stars are expected to nominate for the auction, including Tahlia McGrath, today named ICC’s Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year.
– with AFP