WIPL to begin in March, Viacom 18 grabs the media rights

WIPL to begin in March, Viacom 18 grabs the media rights.

The Women’s T20 Challenge series was initially held as an exhibition tournament series, but the BCCI last year eventually made the decision to introduce the WIPL (Women’s Indian Premier League) , with its first season’s opening match scheduled for March 2023. The BCCI has not officially released the tournament’s match schedule, but it is widely believed that the first season, which would consist of 22 matches, will be held between March 5 and March 23 this year.

Uncapped cricketers have been given two alternative options of Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 20 lakh while players with caps, those who have represented India or are currently on a central contract can select either Rs. 30 lakh, Rs. 40 lakh, or Rs. 50 lakh as their base pricing for the tournament. Prior to the WIPL, the base price has been divided into five categories, ranging from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh. The auction’s last date for registration is January 26, 5pm IST as of now.

Ever since the formal announcement was made by BCCI about starting the WIPL, a number of men’s IPL teams have been sending out their talent scouts to identify players they can potentially sign for the women’s tournament and whether they be awarded the rights to own a franchise also. Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings are all believed to be interested in owning a team in this tournament, WIPL.

BCCI has officially announced that Viacom 18 have grabbed the media rights for WIPL and this too for a whopping sum of Rs. 951 crores for 5 years, piping other bidders including Disney Star and Sony, in this auction. This includes both broadcast as well as the stream rights, making the cost per match at Rs 7.09 crore. The auction for this T20 League was conducted by the cricket board in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The global rights comprise three packages linear (TV), digital and combined (both TV and digital). In the men’s IPL, separate rights are sold across different regions. Five teams will compete against each other and all the matches will be held in Mumbai. The amount is not a big one as compared to the men’s IPL, with each match costing a whopping Rs 58 crore, but nevertheless this deal makes the women’s IPL the second-costliest league in women’s sports globally. It will rank behind the US’s WNBA league according to various reports.

Viacom18 had won the IPL digital rights bid for Rs 23,758 crore while Disney Star had retained its TV rights for Rs 23,575 crore for a five-year period starting from 2023 during a three-day auction that was held in June, 2022. There will be a total of 134 matches in the five teams comprising WIPL over a five year span, with 22 matches each in the first three years of the series. The number could touch 34 matches mark each in the final two years. The BCCI is anticipating a high growth in WIPL over the next few coming years.

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