The 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to expand and welcome two new franchises. There were rumours that the two cities will be Ahmedabad and Lucknow. However, all those rumours have probably been put to a halt, if the latest reports are to be believed. In a recent update, it has been revealed that the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) has shortlisted six cities for the two new franchises for the next edition of the IPL.
The six cities that have been refined by the BCCI are namely Guwahati, Ranchi, Cuttack (all East), Ahmedabad (West), Lucknow (Central Zone), and Dharamsala (North). It is also being reported that the board has considered the zonal imbalance and business opportunities while coming up with the list of cities. The auction for the sale of the ownership of the two new franchises is likely to take place next month. However, the date is yet to be finalized. The BCCI has set a purse of 2000 crore as the base price for the new teams.
The two new cities are probably going to be from Hindi-speaking regions
As per the report, the BCCI is looking to pick the two new teams from Hindi-speaking regions as a majority of the viewers are from these regions. As per the data available to the BCCI, the viewership by the Hindi-speaking regions is high when compared to other regions. Data from Cricbuzz also supports this statement. 65 per cent of the viewership of the four billion minutes of the 2020 IPL coverage came from the Hindi region.
Also, the board is focused on keeping a pan-India balance of the league. Currently, IPL has four teams (CSK, SRH, and RCB) from the Southern region, two (PBKS and DC) from the North, two (KKR and MI) from the East region, and one (RR) from the central zone. Kochi was in contention but the pending litigation with a previous IPL team, Kochi Tuskers, compelled BCCI to look beyond.