The BCCI is likely to unveil the names of the five franchises that will take part in the first phase of the Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL) and the cities from which they will operate on January 25.
Presently the financial bids of these franchisees submitted in sealed covers will be opened on the same day. However, the BCCI has stated in its tender document that it is “not bound to accept the highest monetary offer” and will look for ways to work with the bidders to enhance the development of women’s cricket in India.
ten cities on offer
BCCI has shortlisted a pool of 10 cities in the tender and listed the venues along with their respective capacities. The list includes Ahmedabad (Narendra Modi Stadium, capacity 112,560), Kolkata (Eden Gardens, 65,000), Chennai (MA Chidambaram Stadium, 50,000), Bangalore (M Chinnaswamy Stadium, 42,000), Delhi (Arun Jaitley Stadium, 55,000), Dharamsala (HPCA Stadium, 20,900), Guwahati (Barsapara Stadium, 38,650), Indore (Holkar Stadium, 26,900), Lucknow (AB Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, 48,800) and Mumbai (Wankhede/DY Patil/Brabourne Stadium). While three venues have been listed for Mumbai, the BCCI has said that one of the three will be used depending on “availability and other factors”.
The current plan to create a pool of 10 cities is different from the plan that was originally presented by the BCCI to the state associations at its Annual General Body meeting last year. Subsequently, the BCCI stated that it intended to either choose one city from each of the six regions across the country, or hold the tournament in half a dozen cities without proper home bases for the five teams.
highest bid determination
Barring Dharamsala, Guwahati and Indore, the remaining seven cities already serve as home grounds for men’s IPL teams. While the BCCI has not fixed any base price, bidders have been asked to quote a price for 10 seasons. Bidders have been given the option to contest for more than one franchise/city, but the BCCI has stated that only one franchise will be awarded to the successful bidder.
The BCCI said, ‘The stadium with the highest bid will be awarded first.’ “After that, the stadium with the next highest bid amount will be awarded.”
If the two highest bids are tied for any one spot, the BCCI has said that a re-bid will be held. If the highest bid for two venues from two different bidders is the same, the BCCI will have “discretion to decide the order”. In case of the bidder being the top bidder for more than one ground, the BCCI has the liberty to decide the location.
Format for the first three seasons
Based on information from ITT, the first three seasons (2023-25) will have 22 matches each. In the league stage of the WIPL, each team will play the other twice (20 matches in total), and the team topping the table will advance directly to the finals. The second and third placed teams in the league will play eliminators to determine the other finalists.
BCCI has also said that March will be the window for WIPL. From the 2026 season, the WIPL may consist of “33-34” matches, but the BCCI has not given any details on the tournament structure.
On January 16, the BCCI will open the sealed bids for the media rights of WIPL. While no base price has been set, the BCCI is expecting stiff competition on the back of the record amount spent last year to acquire IPL rights for the lucrative men’s franchise.
Media rights income forms an integral part of the income of both the BCCI and the franchises, as seen in the IPL. The BCCI has once again decided to stick to the same revenue-sharing formula that it used in the IPL for distribution to the franchises from the central revenue pool.
“The BCCI will pay 80% of all central team licensing income to the franchisees every year,” a board said in ITT. “The BCCI will pay 80% of the central rights income to the franchisees in the first five years, 60% in the next five years and 50% thereafter.”