Euro 2020 Special

Media Rights Sold for New Indian Women’s T20 League

The media rights for the inaugural Indian’s women’s T20 league have been sold with Viacom 18 the successful bidder for the first five years of the competition. The media group have also secured the digital rights to the men’s tournament for the same cycle, as well as the new SA20 tournament in South Africa.


The new tournament

The new competition has tentatively been scheduled for March this year and will begin after the conclusion of the Women’s T20I World Cup, which is being held in South Africa this year.

It will consist of five teams, each of which will represent a different regional zone of India. The five teams will initially play each other twice on a round robin basis, with then the top three advancing to the play-offs.

It is envisaged that, if the competition proves to be a success, new franchises will be made available in future years.


The Viacom deal

Viacom 18 beat off competition from Disney Star to secure the rights and have paid INR 951 crore for them. That works out at INR 7 crore a game for the five-year period.

That is more than the BCCI were expecting and hoping for, and it is a windfall for the new tournament. It means that each team will have more money to spend in the player auctions, whilst those who are picked can expect more in the way of remuneration.

That already makes the new competition, even before its launch and whilst some of the detail surrounding it are still rudimentary, the third richest women’s league in the world.

Only WNBA (basketball) in the USA and the Women’s Super League (football) in England are worth more in terms of media rights.

It also puts the new tournament on sound financial footing from the get go. One of the reasons why India was comparatively slow to introduce their own separate franchise league was due to concerns about its financial viability. They appear now to have been squarely addressed.

However, that does not expect the new owners can expect an instant payday, quite the opposite.

In the early years, they will have to sustain losses, because not only are they absorbing the franchise fee, but also taking on other liabilities like the salaries for the players and support staff and other operating expenses.

The issue is judging how soon they can come out of the red, but only those with deep pockets already will be able to afford one of the new franchises.


Manchester United

Whilst the owners of the new franchises have yet to be announced, with the current bidders subject to an evaluation process, it is not pre-ordained that they will come from the existing ranks of the male team franchise owners.

One surprising entity that are reported to be interested are English Premier League team Manchester United, through one of their co-owners Avram Glazer.

He had previously attempted to buy one of the two new franchises for the men’s T20 league which came on the market last year, but ultimately lost out in the bidding war for the Gujarat Titans (the ultimate champions) and the Lucknow Supergiants.

Undeterred, he is still looking to invest in Indian cricket and has shown his intent by acquiring the Desert Vipers currently playing in the ILT20 in the UAE.

Given the amount of vitriol reserved for the Glazer family by the majority of Manchester United fans for the way they have loaded debt onto the club and taken millions out in dividends, Indian cricket may be advised to consider very carefully if they are appropriate custodians of one of the five teams.



The auction for the new franchises will take place on January 25th.

The fact that not only have the media rights been secured in advance but that such a high price has been paid for them makes the new franchises potentially more valuable, which, in turn, will push up the price the BCC can command for them.

The following day is the deadline for those who want to register for the player auction, which is scheduled to be held in February.

All of India’s leading players are expected to register and it is hoped they will be joined by overseas stars from the likes of Australia, New Zealand, England, and the West Indies.




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