New Delhi : After the auction for two new IPL teams, the Indian cricket board BCCI is looking to set up another T20 league in which new teams could be auctioned in the future according to BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur.
This new league could either be played in the window left open by the Champions League T20 that is no longer being played, or the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could even look at a new window. “We are thinking about this, considering the number of people who wanted to own an IPL team,” Thakur said.
While two new teams for the IPL were decided on yesterday — industrialist Sanjiv Goenka’s New Rising picked up Pune and handset maker Intex won the bid for Rajkot — these are only for two years after which the two suspended teams, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, will come back.
Other companies that picked up the bid papers from BCCI included Harsh Goenka’s RPG Enterprises, Videocon, DoIT Sports hat is run by Kapoor family of Yes Bank, N Ranga Rao & Sons, the makers of Cycle Pure Agarbathies, Haldiram and Chennai-based cement firm Chettinad group.
There was talk of a 10-team IPL but Thakur said an eight-team format is the best. “If we have 10 teams, we will not be able to fit them in the IPL window and that would also mean more 4pm games that do not bring in the kind of TRP the evening games do and the quality of the game too suffers,” he explained.
He said the T20 format is currently doing very well but there was good traction for one-day internationals as well. During the South Africa series, he said, all T20 and ODI matches were sold out.
“The challenge lies in Test cricket. That is where we need to work hard to bring back viewership,” he said. For that, they are now reaching out to children to nurture them as the new audience for Test cricket. In the Delhi Test recently, 40,000 kids watched the game through the five days.
Thakur, however, pointed out that there has been no dip in ODI viewership on television. “Look at the kind of sponsorship we are getting. This year, there was a 15-17% increase in sponsorship revenues for BCCI,” he said. “This clearly shows that the steps we have taken in the last nine months are bringing back confidence among viewers as well as advertisers and sponsors.”
Even leagues being set up in other sports like kabaddi, tennis, football, wrestling etc, he said, are not a competition to Cricket still.