It has been reported that The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is looking to further explore the Hindi-speaking market through the introduction of the two new teams which will be added to the Indian Premier League (IPL) expansion for the IPL 2022 edition.
An office-bearer of the BCCI confirmed to Cricbuzz that the move is to correct the pan-India balance of the league. Keeping the current distribution of teams and business opportunities in mind, the BCCI has put up six cities- Guwahati, Ranchi, Cuttack (all East), Ahmedabad (West), Lucknow (Central Zone), and Dharamsala (North)- for sale.
The process of finalizing a date for the auction of the cities is expected to take a month atleast and the base price for the new team has been fixed INR 2,000 crores per team, as the tender floated by the BCCI last month.
BCCI Aiming To Lure Hindi Speaking Market For IPL; Data Shows 65% Viewership Of IPL 2020 Was From Hindi Region
As per the data available to the BCCI, the intake of sports in the Hindi-speaking regions is so enormous that it doesn’t come close in comparison with any other region. As per one piece of data accessed by Cricbuzz, 65% of viewership of the four billion minutes of the IPL coverage of Star Sports in 2020 was from the Hindi region.
Last week, Sony Ten 3, the Hindi language channel of Sony Pictures Network bouquet, emerged as the No 1 sports channel in the country.
The IPL expansion plan is not exclusive to any particular region but the BCCI has not included a southern city for the franchise auction for other reasons too. Kochi is still a disputed city thanks to the ongoing legal litigation with now-extinct Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
Vishakhapatnam has not been included as there is already one Telugu-speaking city in the IPL in Hyderabad. With three teams — Chennai Super Kings, Royals Challengers Bangalore, and Sunrisers Hyderabad — the IPL has more representation in the south than any other region.
Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings represent the north, while Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians represent the east and the west respectively. Jaipur, the home city of Rajasthan Royals, as per the cricket mapping, comes under Central Zone.