Adani Group secures women's T20 franchise in India for $158m

IPL men's team franchise owners among successful bidders for inaugural Women's Premier League

India's Smriti Mandhana batting during the second T20 against England in Derby on September 13, 2022. PA
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Women's cricket received a major boost on Wednesday as the Indian cricket board announced owners of five new franchises for the inaugural Women's Premier League T20 tournament.

The Adani Group, owned by billionaire Gautam Adani, successfully bid for the Ahmedabad franchise of the women's tournament for 12.8 billion rupees ($158 million) which made it the most expensive team in the league.

IPL men's team franchise owners also invested heavily in the league, with Mumbai Indians owners Reliance Industries bagging the Mumbai women's franchise for $111m, Royal Challengers Bangalore men's team owners securing the Bengaluru franchise for $110m and Delhi franchise going to Delhi Capitals owners JSW GMR Group for a shade under $100m. Capri Global Holdings agreed to pay $92.84 million for the Lucknow-based team.

The bid process raised a total of $572m for the Indian board.

"Today is a historic day in cricket as the bidding for teams of inaugural WPL broke the records of the inaugural men's IPL in 2008," BCCI secretary Jay Shah said on social media.

"This marks the beginning of a revolution in women's cricket and paves the way for a transformative journey ahead not only for our women cricketers but for the entire sports fraternity."

The Indian has already sold the tournament's media rights for the next five years to Viacom 18 for $117m, which translates into per-match-value of nearly $1m.

"This is a historic moment for Indian cricket, and we are delighted to be a part of it," said Nita Ambani of Mumbai Indians, which also owns teams in men's T20 tournament in South Africa and the ILT20 in UAE.

A number of women's cricketers across the world expressed their delight as the game had now become financially lucrative.

Former India captain Mithali Raj predicted "exciting times" for women's cricket, while England batter Danni Wyatt and former Australia all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar also took to Twitter to welcome the new tournament.

Updated: January 25, 2023, 11:42 AM