WIPL: BCCI to Reveal Franchise Names on January 25th

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is set to reveal the names of the five franchises that will participate in the inaugural edition of the Women's Indian Premier League (WIPL) on January 25th. The BCCI has invited bids to own and operate the five franchises in the WIPL, which is expected to take place from March 5th to 23rd. In the Invitation to Tender (ITT) document, the BCCI has stated that a single bidder can contest for more than one city. However, the BCCI has also emphasized that it is "not obliged to accept the highest monetary offer" and will focus on ways for the bidders to enhance the growth of women's cricket in India.

The financial bids of these franchises, currently submitted in sealed envelopes, will be opened on January 25th. The BCCI has shortlisted a pool of 10 cities- Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Dharamsala, Guwahati, Indore, Lucknow and Mumbai. For Mumbai, the BCCI has said that only one ground will be used based on "availability and other factors."

Aside from Dharamsala, Guwahati, and Indore, the other seven cities are home bases for men’s IPL teams. The BCCI has asked the bidder to quote a price for 10 seasons, while not setting any base price. Bidders have been given the option of contesting more than one franchise/city, but the BCCI has said the successful bidder will only be given one franchise.

The BCCI also said there will be a re-bid in case two of the highest bids for a single venue are equal. If the highest bids for two venues from two different bidders are the same, the BCCI will have the discretion to decide the order. If a bidder raises the top bid for more than one ground, the BCCI will have the liberty to decide the venue.

As per the Invitation to Tender (ITT) document, the first three seasons (2023-25) will each comprise 22 matches. In the league phase of the WIPL, each team will play the other twice (a total of 20 matches), and the table topper will progress straight to the final. The teams finishing second and third in the league will play an Eliminator to determine the second finalist.

BCCI also said that March will remain the window for WIPL and from the 2026 season, the WIPL could comprise "33-34" matches. On January 16, the BCCI is scheduled to open the sealed bids for the WIPL media rights. BCCI expects stiff competition on the back of record bids to get the Men’s IPL rights. The media rights income is an integral part of the revenues both the BCCI and the franchises earn, as seen in the IPL.

"The BCCI shall pay the franchisee 80% of all Central Team Licensing Income every year. BCCI shall pay the franchisees 80% share of Central Rights income in first five years, 60% in next five years and 50% post that,” the BCCI said in the ITT.