Mini-IPL may be held in UAE or North America

Less than two weeks after announcing their intent to host the IPL overseas, the BCCI has initiated talks with broadcasters Star India.The board, it is learnt, has zeroed in on the United Arab Emirates and North America among the potential destinations and is expected to finalise on one “very soon”. A source in the know confirmed this to TOI and added that the BCCI is also calling a meeting with franchises soon to further discuss the league.

Broadcast giants Star were expected to be BCCI’s first choice of preference given Sony Pictures Network India’s (SPNI) stranglehold over the Indian Premier League rights that are already up for renewal. SPNI enjoys a first-rights-of-refusal clause in its contract with the BCCI and market experts reckon them to retain the lucrative property.

IPL Overseas, or the mini-IPL as it had been termed earlier, can thus be seen as an appeasement of sorts for the party losing out on the bigger IPL rights. The BCCI plans to discuss its strategy for the first time with the franchises, who happen to be its biggest stakeholders in the league.”They’ll be calling for a meeting soon, probably within the next two weeks,” a franchise official said.

The IPL Overseas will be slotted in early Sept, precisely a week after India’s tour of the West Indies gets over. The tournament is a replacement for the T20 Champions League, a tripartite between the Indian cricket board and its Australian and South African counterparts, which was discontinued post the 2014 edition. There were varying views coming in on where the tournament is likely to be hosted. While a source following the broadcast developments said North America could be the destination and the Indian cricketers are likely to be flown there straight from the Caribbean, an official from the cricket industry said UAE is more likely to host the tournament considering the time zone which could suit Indian television viewers.

The BCCI is yet to bring out a blueprint for IPL overseas, where details in terms of finances, operations, player availability, player fees and more need to be ascertained. Moreover, franchises that earned half-a-million dollars as appearance fees every year in the CL are waiting to know what awaits them in this arrangement.

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