Chennai Super Kings won their fourth IPL title in 2021. With the introduction of the two new IPL teams, the 2022 tournament is set to become even more competitive. (Image: IPL/BCCI)
In Sanjiv Goenka’s previous stint as an Indian Premier League IPL boss, when he owned the Rising Supergiants Pune, he once received a suggestion from a man.
“A numerologist from Varanasi told me last year, ‘Yeh ‘Supergiants’ chalega nahi (The name Supergiants won’t work for you)’,” Goenka had told this journalist.
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The name was changed to Rising Pune ‘Supergiant’.
Goenka clarified he did not consult the Varanasi man often. However, that his advice was heeded once gives us a glimpse into the mindset of an IPL owner, and of the stakes involved.
Goenka is now back in the select club of IPL team owners, parting with Rs 7,090 crore for the Lucknow franchise. The other bid was won by CVC Capital, who paid Rs 5,625 crore for the Ahmedabad team. That Ahmedabad would get the nod was no big surprise, given that Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah comes from there and the city boasts of the 1.5 lakh capacity Narendra Modi Stadium.
Read more: IPL teams welcome Lucknow, Ahmedabad with whistles, vanakkam and 'Kyunki Saas Bhi...' clip
With just five months till the next IPL, the new teams will have to bat at T20 speed, in a manner of speaking. Chances are high that experts on different subjects – finance, marketing, cricket, and maybe numerology – will be consulted. Personnel and plans will have to be in place well before March 2022 and in time for the player auction, which is expected to be held in December 2021 or January 2022.
From a cricketing standpoint, the biggest advantage of the two new teams is that players will have more opportunities. So will coaches and support staff.
Retired all-rounder Yusuf Pathan, who played on teams that won the T20 World Cup once and the IPL thrice, and is now preparing for the Abu Dhabi T10 League, told Moneycontrol, “This will benefit the many first-class cricketers in India who emerge as highest scorers, highest wicket-takers, in domestic tournaments, but don’t always get an opportunity (in IPL). It’s also great for the fan base, as Gujarat and UP (Uttar Pradesh) are big states who love their cricket. Indian cricket, too, can find players through the two new franchises.”
Also read: Expect Lucknow IPL team to command Rs 10,000 crore valuation in 5 years: RPSG Group's Sanjiv Goenka
The tournament will also become more competitive. While the IPL has been democratic in the way it has financially enriched participants, the trophy has spent time largely in the showcase of the Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians.
Then there are the commercial ramifications of the entry of the two new babies, such as salaries, slices of broadcasting rights money for the franchises and sponsorship income. Each franchise is a small economy in itself.
It should be remembered that the new teams are expected to make IPL TV rights even costlier. Star India paid $2.5 billion (Rs 16,347.50 crore) for TV and digital rights for the current five–year cycle. That period draws to a close next year. It is expected the broadcaster for the 2023-27 period will have to pony up $4-5 billion for the gaudy privilege of beaming IPL games. A big reason for that is not just the bigger pool of teams, but an expected increase in the number of matches from 60 to 74.
The BCCI top brass, currently at the T20 World Cup in Dubai, has a busy few months ahead. They will have to dust off their records and revisit the 2011 tournament, which was the last time 10 teams featured in it, Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Pune Warriors being the new outfits that year.
At the time, the format of the tournament was different than it is now. Basis that, it is expected that in 2022, the 10 franchises will be divided into two groups of five teams each. Each team plays against the other teams in the group twice. It plays once against four teams of the other group, and twice against the remaining one franchise. (Confused? That means you are normal.)
The completion of the league phase will lead to the knockout stage. At the end of it, there will be a champion, a few muddled heads and many rich people.