IPL 2021 likely to be played with 8 teams; New franchise(s) from 2022

MUMBAI: A very “realistic” BCCI is on the verge of taking the right call that the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) should be played only with the existing eight teams.
The decision to add one or two teams for the coming edition – barely three-and-half-months away – is finally being perceived as a hurried one. The Board is looking to arrive at the conclusion that new franchises should step into the IPL ecosystem from the 2022 edition onwards.
A decision to this effect will be final only after it is ratified at Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the BCCI scheduled Ahmedabad on December 24.
The addition of two new franchises is part of the AGM agenda that was floated around three weeks ago. The members will look to seek approval for the new franchises but will also restrict themselves from floating an immediate tender seeking bids.
“The BCCI could call for the bids in February or March or April – whenever they think the time is right. The adding of new franchises, say stakeholders, will also add value to the 2021 edition once it becomes a talking point. That’s the line of thought as of now,” say those tracking developments.
If the decision holds correct, the Board will kill multiple birds with a stone. A) They will be under no obligation to conduct a mega-auction, thus allowing the defending champions Mumbai Indians to “stay champions” for a least five months, and also saving time; B) They will have ample time to float a tender / RFP to re-sell the title rights for IPL – that was sold in September August 2020 to Dream 11 for that edition alone – and thus won’t be under any hurry to pack in the new teams; C) The decision will also add impetus to the prospect of floating the media rights tender for the IPL any time after October 2021.
“Two new franchises will obviously have their own share of value when the media rights tender comes along. Also, two more things: First, the central revenue pool for the 2021 season won’t be diluted, which means the franchises will be happy; Second, once again 60 matches will be held, which means lesser double-headers, so the broadcaster will be happy,” sources add.
The board, as it very rarely does, is heeding / responding to what its stakeholders are thinking and is willing to keep their interests among the priorities at hand. “Now, that can only be a good thing. And let’s hope it continues that way,” industry executives say.
The industry is clearly looking forward to the tenders being floated for new franchises with keen interest. As reported by TOI earlier, from corporates to investment funds, bankers and old-business houses – are all looking to study the tender document, once it comes out, and have underlined their interests to the Board.
“At the end of the day, this is BCCI. Decisions are taken, reversed, altered at the drop of a hat. What we’re discussing right now is a realistic step and one that’ll turn out to be beneficial later. But then, let’s not think of crossing the bridge until we get there,” say those in the know.

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