The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) wants to expand the IPL from eight to ten teams and wants to discuss the matter at their AGM on December 24th to decide whether to invite tenders by the end of the year.
The worlds richest domestic cricket tournament wants to get even bigger and better, and with media rights set to be renegotiated next year, now appears a golden opportunity to expand the league.
It also offers the BCCI a chance to fill its coffers at a time when many cricket boards are struggling financially in the wake of the global pandemic, which has seen many matches cancelled and others played behind closed doors.
Experts predict that selling the rights to two new franchises would bring in excess of half a billion dollars.
There are drawbacks with the plan though.
In the first place it would require a format change to the competition. Currently the eight franchises play each other home and away during the regular season to decide which four teams will contest the play-offs.
As it is that takes seven weeks to complete, even with the occasional double-headers, which are not popular with either fans or broadcasters.
Extending the length of the tournament further would be difficult, especially given that the cricket calendar is already very crowded. It would also mean that the many international stars that form part of the major appeal of the IPL would not be able to commit themselves for such a period of time, especially given that many of them are centrally contracted to their international boards.
Having their place taken by domestic players would devalue the IPL.
There is also the question as to whether tendering for two new franchises in the middle of a pandemic is the best time to extract maximum value from the process. Many of those conglomerates which might be interested in bidding have suffered major hits to their bottom-line this year and may just now have the cash to divert to such a purpose.
Some have suggested that the introduction of the new franchises could be staggered, with one coming on stream in 2021, and the other the following year.