Viacom18 have won the media rights for the inaugural women's Indian Premier League, with BCCI secretary Jay Shah calling the development "a big and decisive step for empowerment of women's cricket in India" and "a new dawn".
The five-year deal, agreed following an auction in Mumbai, is set to be worth approximately £95.7million, which equates to more than £700,000 per match between 2023 and 2027.
"After pay equity, today's bidding for media rights for Women's IPL marks another historic mandate," Shah tweeted. "It's a big and decisive step for empowerment of women's cricket in India, which will ensure participation of women from all ages. A new dawn indeed!"
Five franchises are expected to take part in the inaugural women's IPL, which replaces the Women's T20 Challenge and comes after years of pushing for a major tournament in India.
Congratulations @viacom18 for winning the Women’s @IPL media rights. Thank you for your faith in @BCCI and @BCCIWomen. Viacom has committed INR 951 crores which means per match value of INR 7.09 crores for next 5 years (2023-27). This is massive for Women’s Cricket 🙏🇮🇳
It is understood that the competition will take place in early March, including 22 fixtures, preceding the sixteenth edition of the men's equivalent, which now comprises 10 teams.
Significantly, in a BCCI press release documenting Viacom18's acquisition, it refers to the new tournament as the Women's Indian Premier League. There were previously suggestions that it might take on a name that wouldn't so clearly align it with the behemoth men's event.
Beth Barrett-Wild, head of The Hundred women's competition, quoted Shah's tweet, describing the figures as "punchy numbers, transformational investment into women's cricket, new precedent for women's sport".
The agreement, which equates to a deal worth more than £19million per year, is more than double the £8million per year deal that exists between English football's Women's Super League and broadcasters BBC and Sky.
India won the Asia Cup in October (Tanvin Tamin/AFP via Getty Images)
"The faith of all our bidders for this process also testifies that they see value in investing in this property which will only be growing with each passing year," added Arun Singh Dhumal, chair of the IPL's governing council.
"Women's cricket has shown immense growth in the past few years and our own T20 league, it only solidifies our approach towards women's cricket and the potential it has for growth in India."
Rajeev Shukla, the BCCI's vice-president, added that "the Women's IPL would elevate the stature of women's cricket across the globe and would groom talents at the grassroots level".
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