However, this does not mean that the BCCI has decided to introduce two new teams. While there is serious intent, “debate” means that members attending the AGM during the last week of December must agree with the majority.
The idea of 10 teams floating around has its pros and cons.
On a positive note, BCCI could avoid another mega-bidding problem in one year if two new teams are put on the board. Now if only one team is added, the second one will need to be brought in later, another mega auction in a year’s time, which will once again disturb the beauty of the first auction and make the process repetitive and cumbersome.
There are still some positive aspects. The dynamics of international cricket are expected to change over the next few years – the once-formed International Cricket Council (ICC) New Future Tour Program (FTP) will come into effect after 2023 – time to IPL to expand its existing window and share rights.
Moreover, with the media rights tender expected to float by the end of next year, the 10 teams in the competition will allow potential bidders to write high-value checks with a large number of matches, a big window and new interest in mind.
Ultimately, it allows the board – looking at large sums of money on multiple fronts – to raise capital. The introduction of the two new teams raked in more than half a billion dollars – always a handicap, considering the nasty legal struggles the BCCI has embroiled in recent years.
There are some pros and cons.
First, adding two teams requires a change in the IPL format and a return to the team that was in use in the 2011 edition.
The ten teams are divided into five groups. In the group stage, each team played 14 games: the other four teams in their group twice (one home and one away), the other four teams once and the remaining teams twice. Random draw drawings were used to determine groups and who played in groups once and twice.
Each team played the team twice in the same line and in the same column, and once in the rest.
It was complicated, though it saved time. Despite a restricted window of 10 teams and a tournament to play in the competition, a total of 74 matches were played, which further added to the double-headers – an area where Star India broadcasters find themselves in need of sweating again.
Another concern is the value that BCCI can get by selling two new franchises in the middle of Kovid.
The epidemic has gone nowhere, instead causing massive losses to the global economy and often zipping purse strings. If this scenario fails and is expected to take its own time before regaining any momentum, the challenge and responsibility to get the desired value will be on board.
There is another worry that is not seen from the usual sense of haste to pull this exercise. With the current media rights cycle in motion until 2022, industry executives can’t help but raise questions about whether the board can wait to ring in two new teams.
Time will tell, say those who track these developments.
BCCI has a conscious call to put its best foot forward and to break the wonderful and undeniable monotony that goes through its most precious asset.