On the day Indian Premier League raked in a record bid for broadcast rights, Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Secretary Jay Shah reiterated the plan to launch the inaugural edition of the Women’s Indian Premier League soon.

On Tuesday, he confirmed interest from several stakeholders and existing IPL teams in owning franchises in the WIPL.

The BCCI has organised the Women’s T20 challenge event during the IPL since 2018 but BCCI President Sourav Ganguly in March clarified that a full tournament is in the pipeline and is most likely to take place in 2023.

In an interview with PTI, following the e-auction for the IPL’s media rights for the 2023-27 cycle, Shah said that the idea of the Women’s IPL, is in fact, important to him and that the tournament’s inaugural edition would feature five to six teams.

“This is a project which is very close to my heart. We will start with either five or six teams in the first edition. I am thrilled at the kind of response we have got from stakeholders. Multiple existing IPL teams have enquired and expressed serious interest in owning WIPL franchises,” he said.

After the e-auction for the IPL’s media rights for the 2023-27 cycle completed on Tuesday, it became the world’s second most valuable sporting league in terms of match value after NFL. The media rights were sold for an astronomical total of Rs 48,390 crore.

Shah, in the interview, indicated that the WIPL too will have a good valuation.

IPL media rights for 2023-’27 sold for Rs 48,390 crore; Star India win TV deal, Viacom18 bag digital

“Not to forget interest from outside. We are in discussions with other Boards about the possible window when all top cricketers will be available. I can promise that the valuation of the league, franchises and media rights will stun one and all,” he added.

According to the press statement released by the league on Wednesday, Shah explained the Board’s intention to use the resources and profits to drive development in both domestic and women’s cricket.

“The whole idea is to balance cricket and commercial interests as BCCI is committed to developing sports in the country through cricket. The money we generate through media rights will ultimately benefit grassroots cricket in India and that is what ultimately matters.”

“The BCCI is also committed to launching the Women’s IPL in 2023 apart from creating maximum opportunities for the growth of women’s cricket in the country. In BCCI’s attempt to ensure that sports should travel beyond cricket, it is also setting up indoor sports academies in the Northeast and stadiums in select locations to promote sports in every nook and corner of the country.”