India’s cricket board earned AU$806 million on Wednesday when it announced winning bids to own five teams in the inaugural Women’s Premier League tournament, scheduled for March.
The women’s competition will complement the money-grubbing Indian Premier League tournament for the world’s richest and most influential cricketing organisation.
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“Today is a historic day in cricket as the bidding for teams from the inaugural #WPL broke the records set in the inaugural men’s IPL in 2008!” Jay Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, tweeted on Wednesday
Shah said the board had “amassed” about $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 just for our female cricketers but for the entire sport association,” he added.
Three of the five women’s league franchises – Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore – already have 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 Adani’s company had made the highest bid of about AU$222 million to own the Ahmedabad team, followed by $157 million for Mumbai, $155 million for Bengaluru, $139 million for Delhi and $139 million for Delhi. 130 million for Lucknow.
Former England bowler and Fox Cricket commentator Isa Guha described the deal as “a historic day for the women’s game”.
Indian batsman 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 $164 million windfall after Viacom18 won the media rights to the new league’s first five seasons.
The BCCI also sold the rights to the men’s IPL last year for $8.7 billion for five seasons, and Viacom 18 — a joint venture between tycoon Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate Network 18 and US group Paramount Global — took over the IPL streaming rights. for $4.2 billion.
Shah said the new league would “bring the necessary reforms to women’s cricket” and help create a new ecosystem to expand the sport.
A player auction will be held prior to the opening tournament in March. Each team can sign up to seven foreign players and a salary cap of approximately $2 million is imposed. A number of Australian stars are expected to nominate for the auction, including Tahlia McGrath, named ICC’s Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year today.
– with AFP