Reports: BCCI shortlists six cities for new franchises in IPL 2022

Reports: BCCI shortlists six cities for new franchises in IPL 2022

The board has considered the zonal imbalance and business opportunities while shortlisting the cities.

Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma kisses IPL trophy. (Photo: IANS)

The next edition of the Indian Premier League is all set to be expanded with the introduction of two new teams. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has put forward six cities- Guwahati, Ranchi, Cuttack (all East), Ahmedabad (West), Lucknow (Central Zone), and Dharamsala (North) — for sale. The board has considered the zonal imbalance and business opportunities while shortlisting these cities.

The auction is expected to be held next month, however, the exact date for the same is yet to be finalized. Rs 2000 crore has been fixed as the base price for the new teams. The BCCI is aiming to take the IPL to two new cities in Hindi-speaking regions to keep a pan-India balance of the league. One of the major reasons behind this is also the popularity of cricket in the region.

The Hindi-speaking regions consume sports in large numbers. As per the data available to the BCCI, the viewership by the Hindi-speaking regions is maximum when compared to other regions. As per the data collected by Cricbuzz, 65 percent of the viewership of the four billion minutes of the IPL coverage of Star Sports in 2020 came from the Hindi region.

BCCI wishes to cash in on Hindi-speaking regions for new teams in IPL 2022

Recently, Sony Ten 3, the Hindi language channel of Sony Pictures Network came to the fore as the No 1 sports channel in the country. For the ongoing England-India Test match series, 50.7 percent of the viewership was fetched by the Hindi sports channel (Sony Ten 3). On the contrary, for Sony Six (English) it was 10.6 percent and 0.4 for Sony Ten 4 (Tamil and Telugu).

With the presence of the three teams- Chennai Super Kings, Royals Challengers Bangalore, and Sunrisers Hyderabad, the IPL currently has more representation of the South region. This is one of the reasons why the BCCI hasn’t included a southern city for the franchise auction. The other reason being that from the south region, Kochi would have been one potential city but the pending litigation with the now-defunct Kochi Tuskers franchise, BCCI shifted its attention to the North and Eastern zones.

Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings are currently the teams that represent the North Zone. Whereas on the other hand, from east and west there are- Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians respectively. Jaipur, which is the home city of the Rajasthan Royals comes under the central zone.