The Indian Premier League is rarely out of the sporting headlines, and 2022 has certainly witnessed its fair share of stories surrounding the biggest and best cricket league in the world. A league whose astronomical success may have surprised even the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), with fans continuing to attend and tune in in their droves and lend teams their support by taking advantage of the best mobile free bets.
Eight Became Ten
2022 was of course the year in which the league was extended to ten teams for the very first time, following the addition of the Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans. The latter making a truly spectacular start in lifting the trophy in their debut season. A generally well received move with players and supporters alike, this expansion no doubt served to further broaden the appeal of the league and contribute to the incredible figures obtained in the latest media rights deal….
TV and Digital Deal More Than Doubles
With the 2022 season now in the record books, the big story headed into the 2023 season centred around the renegotiation of the TV rights deal for the 2023-2027 cycle. Fetching Rs 16,347.50 crore when sold to the Disney backed Star India in 2017, the latest deal looks set to far eclipse that figure, with the domestic TV and digital deals – purchased by Disney and Viacom 18 respectively – already surpassing Rs 45,000 crore. More teams competing, more money coming into the already cash rich league, and soon more matches for the fans to enjoy.
74 To Become 94?
Building on the burgeoning popularity of the IPL – and likely factored into the figures achieved during the media rights auction – is the prospect that the coming seasons are predicted to see an expansion in the number of matches played, with the anticipated schedule running as follows.
- 2023 and 2024 seasons – unchanged at 74 matches
- 2025 and 2026 seasons – increase to 84 matches
- 2027 season – further increase to 94 matches
Whilst not absolutely set in stone just yet, the fact that bidding broadcasters were advised to tailor their bids around a total of 410 matches – reflecting the schedule outlined above – suggests that it would be something of a surprise were this expansion not to come to fruition. The next question then becomes “how will it all work?”.
The current 74 match model sees the ten sides split into two virtual groups, with each side playing home and away against the other four teams in their section, once against four of the sides in the opposite group, and twice against the fifth side in the opposite group. The playoffs and final then taking the total number of matches to 74.
Again, whilst no official announcement has yet been made, the most likely format which would result in an 84-match season would see each side play the other four teams in their group twice, play twice against two sides in the opposite group, and once against the remaining three sides.
94 matches could then potentially see the ditching of the two virtual groups, creating a ten-team single league in which each side plays one another home and away, followed by the four play-off games. Whatever the structure, the addition of more games seems sure to be a big hit with IPL fans all around the world!