WPL success to translate into bigger tournament involving Australia, England?
The grand success of the inaugural Women's Premier League (WPL) has inspired talks for the launch of the first-ever Women's Champions League (WCL) T20 amidst cricket's major powerhouses - India, England and Australia - said a report in Aussie-based Sydney Morning Herald.
The report revealed ongoing discussions aimed to build on the gains pulled off by the WPL 2023, which attracted inspiring viewership, impressive corporate backing as well as broadcasters' investment.
The idea is to explore the developing women's T20 market on Indian shores by introducing the WCL T20 in the mould of the now-disbanded Champions League T20 (CLT20) for the best men's domestic franchise and club teams in the world.
Discussions to that means have been upheld by Cricket Australia's CEO and Chair Nick Hockley and Mike Baird with their counterparts sitting in the BCCI and England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in the recent weeks and picked up steam at the sidelines of the Lord's Ashes Test and the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
Big 3 in talks for Women's Champions League T20
A CA spokesperson confirmed the discussions on prospects of a Women's Champions League T20 being introduced as early as next year to maximise the wind and momentum gained by the WPL alongside equivalent tournaments based in the UK and Australia via The Hundred and Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) respectively, said the SMH report.
"The WPL’s spectacle, featuring big crowds and large TV audiences after the BCCI sold rights to the event to Viacom18 for $US116.5 million ($169 million) over five years, has been a significant driver for the Champions League idea," the report mentioned.
"Introduction of the league, with broadcast rights revenue to be shared among the countries involved, would mimic the attempt to start a men’s T20 Champions League when the IPL was launched in 2008."
Notably, the CLT20 was abandoned after six editions back in 2014 when the BCCI, CA and Cricket South Africa (CSA) - the three joint holders - came face to face with host broadcaster Star Sports' inability to pay for the tournament hosting rights amidst heavy losses that the event made.
The losses were partly down to negligible interest in matches not involving the more popular IPL sides, who got their playing talent available at the expense of other teams regardless of home-grown inclinations while there also came early signs of a men's T20 market approaching a saturation point, unlike the female game.
If such details can be taken care of by the strength of the playing talent around, the women's CLT20 can be a game-changer for established and young female cricketing stars awaiting more streams to launch themselves on the world stage and eyeing greater financial rewards for their talent and ability.