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BCCI plans to start Women’s IPL by 2023, says president Sourav Ganguly

The BCCI is planning to start the Women’s IPL by 2023, Board President Sourav Ganguly said on Friday while four exhibition games make a return this season after a one-year gap.

The BCCI, which has been criticised in the past for not starting the Women’s IPL, will need AGM’s approval to kickstart the league next season.

The Board is planning to have five or six teams in the inaugural edition.

So far BCCI has been hosting exhibition games for women players. SportzPics

So far BCCI has been hosting exhibition games for women players. SportzPics

All the existing 10 men’s IPL franchises will be given the first right of refusal to buy the Women’s IPL teams.

It is learnt that at least four men’s IPL franchises are interested in knowing from the BCCI what is on the table in case they want to invest in WIPL.

“It (the full-fledged women’s IPL) has to be approved by the AGM. We plan to start it by next year hopefully,” BCCI president Sourav Ganguly told reporters after the IPL Governing Council meeting on Friday.

In an interview with PTI in February, Ganguly had said that Women’s IPL will be launched in 2023.

IPL chairman Brijesh Patel also made it clear that this season there will be four matches for the three women teams around men’s IPL play-offs.

“There will be four matches involving three teams around the time of the playoffs,” Patel said after the meeting.

With the second half of the IPL being shifted to the UAE due to the pandemic, the exhibitions games were not held last year. However, they were staged in the UAE in 2020 when IPL Trailblazers won the title.

According to Patel, there would be five or six teams in the Women’s IPL but again that would need approval of the General Body.

The most likely venue for the women’s exhibitions games is Pune.

The IPL starts on Saturday with defending champions Chennai Super Kings up against Kolkata Knight Riders at the iconic Wankhede stadium.

IPL media rights tender to be out soon

The issue of IPL media rights for the 2023-2027 cycle was also discussed by the Governing Council.

“The tender will be out soon,” said a Governing Council member.

Star India had paid a whopping Rs 16,347.5 crore for the 2018-2022 cycle. With the league’s popularity soaring and the addition of two new teams, that number could touch a staggering Rs 40,000 crore for the upcoming five-year cycle.

Companies interested in securing the rights to India cricket’s hottest property include Reliance-backed Viacom 18, current right holders Disney Star, Sony (which had paid Rs 8200 for nine years, back in 2009) and streaming giant Amazon which could bid for the digital rights.

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