Mon. Sep 25th, 2023

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The inaugural season of the Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL) is set to get underway from March 2023 and feature five teams over a one-month window.
It means the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Twenty20 franchise tournament will commence after the 2023 International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa wraps up on 26th February.
A senior BBCI official confirmed to the Press Trust of India (PTI) that a four-week run had been earmarked for the WIPL’s first year. There is also potential for the tournament to feature six teams due to “a lot of interest among potential investors”.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah has already been bullish about the WIPL’s prospects, which the organisation hopes will elevate women’s cricket in India by mirroring the formula that has made the men’s equivalent a commercial juggernaut.
In a previous interview with the PTI, Shah had said multiple IPL teams had expressed “serious interest in owning WIPL franchises”. The likes of the Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders have all been linked with deals. Entrepreneur and UTV Group founder Ronnie Screwvala has also expressed an interest.
The auctioning process for teams will be announced in due course.
The BCCI has been running the three-team Women’s T20 Challenge since 2018, but there have been calls for the organisation to bring in a bigger competition akin to the IPL. The success of the men’s tournament and size of the Indian market means expectations will be high.
Further details are likely to emerge from the BCCI’s annual general meeting in September, including the sales process for teams and plans for media rights contracts. For the former, ESPNcricinfo reports that existing IPL franchises could be offered the first right of refusal for buying teams, though they are yet to officially hear from the BBCI.
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