The BCCI has shifted its focus to the sale of the two new teams that will be added to the Indian Premier League (IPL) from next season, with the mega-auction set to take place before the next edition of the IPL. The board invited tenders for the purchase of two additional IPL teams last week, and the 'invitation to tender' is open till October 5.
According to sources, the board has proposed six cities for the two new teams: Guwahati, Ranchi, Cuttack (all East), Ahmedabad (West), Lucknow (Central Zone), and Dharamsala (North), based on the zonal imbalance and commercial prospects. The BCCI wants to bring the cash-rich league to cities in the Hindi-speaking area, particularly in the north belt, in order to maintain the pan-India balance of the world's most popular franchise league.
With Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Sunrisers Hyderabad already representing three of the country's southern cities, the BCCI has made it clear that no cities from the south will be included in the tournament. While Vishakhapatnam and Kochi were in the running, the pending litigation with the ex-Kochi side (Kochi Tuskers Kerala) worked against them.
The BCCI has also gone north, west, and east, with 65 percent of the four billion minutes of IPL watching coming from the Hindi area. According to cricket mapping, only the Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings are from the northern region, while the Rajasthan Royals, based in Jaipur, are from the central zone, which is why the board expects the IPL to expand beyond the capital of Delhi and Punjab in the north.