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Is Bilateral Cricket going to end, as multiple reports of IPL franchises have approached players to leave their central contract with their respective boards and play for them in different T20 leagues?

Is Bilateral Cricket going to end, as multiple reports of IPL franchises have approached players to leave their central contract with their respective boards and play for them in different T20 leagues?

IPL Franchise has had a lot of success over the past few years in growing its footprints in a variety of T20 competitions throughout the world. The list of teams that each IPL franchise owns may be seen here.

  • Mumbai Indians owns teams in South Africa, the UAE, and the USA
  • KKR owns teams in the UAE, the USA, and West Indies.
  • Chennai Super Kings, Lucknow Super Giants, Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Rajasthan Royals own a team in South Africa.

There have been multiple claims that IPL franchises are proposing multi-million-pound sums to English players hoping they will resign from their current central contracts and play for the franchises in various T20 leagues. Now, as a result of these reports, there are several worries over whether or not Bilateral Cricket will come to a stop.

The following are some of the reasons why it is unlikely that this will be achieved shortly:

  • Other leagues, except for the Indian Premier League, do not enjoy the same popularity among fans as IPL. Although there is no specific metric that can be used to forecast the popularity of a league, the value of a league’s broadcasting rights is one indicator that can be used to make educated guesses about the popularity of a company. The following is a list of the Value of Media Rights and the Value Per Match of the various T20 Leagues:

Indian Premier League

Media Rights: INR 48,390 crore ($6.2 billion) for the period 2023-27

Per Match Value: INR 118.02 crore ($15.1 million) (overall values)

Big Bash League

Media Rights: $1 Billion for the period 2024–31

Per Match Value: $2.9 Million

Pakistan Super League

Media Rights: $24 million for 2 Seasons

Per Match Value: $0.35 Million

According to the data presented, it is possible to deduce that, except for the IPL, many leagues worldwide do not have high values in terms of broadcasting rights, which also reflects the low levels of popularity enjoyed by the leagues.

  • The fact that marquee Indian players like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah only play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and not in any other league would come to an end. The IPL is a very profitable venture for BCCI. The fundamental reason for the league’s success is that marquee Indian players only play in the IPL and not in any other company. If international bilaterals were to end, the BCCI would undoubtedly be compelled to let Indian players participate in other leagues if the sport continues. This may result in the Indian Premier League losing its status as an exclusive tournament, which may also lead to a reduction in the amount of revenue earned by the IPL.
  • Regarding league cricket, most fans watch matches that include their favorite cricketers. Thus they won’t watch every game. Even within the Indian Premier League, franchises such as RCB, CSK, and MI significantly impact viewership more than other teams. The following five events had the highest viewership on Jio Cinema during the IPL 2023:
  • CSK vs RR – 2.2 cr [When Dhoni & Jadeja batting]
  • RCB vs LSG – 1.8 cr [When Du Plessis & Maxwell batting]
  • MI vs DC – 1.7 cr [When LSG won the match]
  • CSK vs LSG – 1.7 [When Dhoni batting]
  • KKR Vs SRH – 1.7cr [When Rinku Singh batting]
  • CSK vs GT – 1.6 cr [When Dhoni batting]

However, regardless of the players’ performances, international cricket fans are more likely to show up to watch their national team play.

These arguments show that the global cricket community needs to prepare to transition from international to franchise play. However, T20 Leagues may eventually overtake International Cricket in the next five to ten years.

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