The Board of Control for Cricket in India has sold city-based team franchise rights for the inaugural Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL) for INR46.7 billion ($572 million).
The most expensive franchise was Ahmedabad, which was sold to Adani Sportsline for $158 million. Parent company Adani Group is currently in the eye of a storm, having being accused of “pulling the largest con in corporate history” by U.S. investment firm Hindenburg Research. The group, which has denied the allegations, is India’s largest corporation and an aspiring media empire builder.
Three of the other franchises have been bought by companies who also own the city franchises for the men’s IPL. Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Indiawin Sports acquired the Mumbai franchise for $111 million, Royal Challengers Sports Bengaluru for $110 million and JSW GMR Cricket Delhi for $99 million. Capri Global Holdings acquired the Lucknow franchise for $93 million.
Earlier this month, Viacom18 acquired global television and rights for WIPL seasons 2023-2027 for $116.4 million.
Nita Ambani, co-owner of Mumbai franchise, said in a statement: “This is a historic moment for Indian cricket, and we are delighted to be a part of it. India’s women cricketers have always made the nation proud in the global sporting arena – be it the World Cup, Asian Cup or the recent Commonwealth Games. This new Women’s League will once again shine a global spotlight on the talent, power, and potential of our girls.”
The men’s IPL is one of the most lucrative properties in world sport. In June 2022, Viacom18, a TV and streaming group backed by Mukesh Ambani, paid $3 billion to win an online auction for two packages of digital rights to the men’s IPL cricket. Disney, which held the TV and digital rights to IPL for the past five seasons, won only the broadcast TV rights, but agreed to pay $3.01 billion for them.