The expansion of the Indian Premier League is set for the 2022 season as the governing body says it is looking to increase the tournament from eight teams to 10.
While this isn’t a new development, reports from Cribuzz mention that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is looking at six Hindi-speaking regions for the same to capitalise on the Hindi market.
Guwahati, Ahmedabad in the Fray
As per the reports, the BCCI has given green light to six new cities and interested candidates can form their franchises accordingly. Of course, only two cities can join the existing eight so it will be interesting to see which Indian town gets the nod.
In the race are the Guwahati, Ranchi, Cuttack, Dharamsala, Lucknow, and Ahmedabad.
These six cities cover a diverse spectrum of Hindi-speaking populations all the way from the East to the West.
One of the reasons for selecting them may be the lucrative business opportunities these regions hold. Going by the Cribuzz data, more than 60% of the viewership in IPL 2020 on Star Sports was from the Hindi region.
And then there is also the fact that Sony Ten 3 – one of the Hindi flagship channels of Sony Network – recently emerged as the No. 1 sports channel in the country. This also explains why the ongoing India-England series is boasting of high viewership metrics on Sony Ten 3 – there is a lot of interest in cricket from that part of the country.
It certainly makes sense for the BCCI to introduce new franchises from those regions to further increase the popularity of its prized tournament.
Tender Already Open
Just last week, the BCCI released an official statement inviting the bids for one of the two new IPL franchises for the 2022 season.
The statement read:
“The Governing Council of the IPL invites bids to acquire the right to own and operate 1 (one) of the 2 (two) new teams proposed to be introduced to take part in the Indian Premier League from the IPL 2022 season, through a tender process.”
While it is yet to be seen who gets to own the new teams, the rumour mills are already churning plenty of speculations.
The Adani Group and the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group are reportedly among the frontrunners to join the IPL bandwagon.
It is worth mentioning that the Adani Group is headquartered in Ahmedabad – which also happens to have the largest cricket stadium in the world. On the other hand, the RPSG Group owns a majority stake in the ATK Mohun Bagan FC – the current runner-up from the Indian Super League.
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