Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Jay Shah. Image Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: The world’s most affluent cricket board, India, got further richer by $572.72 million after unveiling five franchises for an Indian Premier League-style T20 tournament for the women on Wednesday.

Since 2018, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) has been staging a three-team Women’s T20 Challenge along side the hugely popular IPL for the men and faced demands to start a full-fledged women’s tournament.

Five entities

The owners of IPL’s Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore franchises are among the five entities who purchased teams in the Women’s Premier League (WPL), which will be played in March.

The Adani group made the highest bid of approximately $158 million to buy the Ahmedabad franchise, while Capri Global Holdings Private Limited agreed to pay $92.84 million for Lucknow.

Ahmedabad-based Gujarat Giants eventually registered the highest winning bid at the auction with the other bids coming from Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi and Lucknow.

“The Indian women’s cricket team has been doing exceptionally well — and a cricket league for women is a significant step in creating more opportunities for women through sports,” said Pranav Adani, Director, Adani Enterprises. “Cricket is an inseparable part of the country’s fabric and Adani Sportsline was keen to begin their association with the sport with the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League. While I wish every other franchise the very best, I look forward to the Gujarat Giants standing out as the top team in this new, exciting league.”

The Gujarat Giants cricket franchise in the Women’s Premier League joins Adani Sportsline’s family of successful teams, like the Gulf Giants in the DP World ILT20, and the Gujarat Giants in the Pro Kabaddi League.

“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,” tweeted BCCI secretary Jay Shah.

Historic moment

“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 BCCI has already sold the tournament’s media rights for the next five years to Viacom 18 for $117 million which translates into per-match-value of $870,393.

“This is a historic moment for Indian cricket, and we are delighted to be a part of it,” said Nita Ambani of Mumbai Indians, which also owns teams in men’s T20 tournaments in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

Former India captain Mithali Raj predicted “exciting times” for women’s cricket, while England batter Danni Wyatt and former Australia all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar also took to Twitter to welcome the new tournament.