Women’s IPL: Better Late Than Never

27 Jan,2023



By Shailesh Kapoor


Shailesh KapoorThis has been a significant week in the India’s modern sporting history. The bidding process of WPL (Women’s Premier League, i.e., the women version of the IPL) concluded Wednesday, with five team owners shelling out a cumulative INR 4,670. WPL will be played between five teams during this year.


It’s taken BCCI a few more years than expected, to action this evident spin-off that combines the success of IPL with the growing popularity of women’s cricket. Perhaps the Covid years pushed their plans back. But better late than ever, as it’s said.


Women’s cricket has found traction in the recent years, because of more consistent performances by the Indian team, as well as better television coverage and marketing for women’s cricket events by Star Sports in particular. WPL can take the awareness and interest in women’s cricket to a whole new level, not just in India but worldwide. Given how good the standard of women’s cricket at the highest level now is, it’s only appropriate that the richest cricket body in the world has invested in it. Australia has had the Women’s Big Bash League for several years now. But WPL will be several times bigger, in its viewership, revenues, and hence, the impact.


India, as a country, can do well with stronger female presence in mainstream sports. In our monthly tracker Ormax Sports Stars, as many as 94% sports viewers pick a male sportsperson as their favourite, marginalising the female representation to badminton stars PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, and tennis star Sania Mirza. There are no other names, including cricketers, of note on the women’s list. Even female sports audience (a high 91%), pick sportsmen as their favorite.


While sport, in general, tends to be male-skewed across the world, the extremity of this skew in India is a worrying indicator, from a socio-cultural perspective. In the recent years, Indian women have matched the men at the Olympics, accounting for seven out of India’s 14 individual medals at the games since 2012. However, the media and government attention these winners have received has been short-lived. While there continues to the improvement in facilities available for aspiring women sportspersons at the ground level, the audiences, who eventually drive revenue into sports, have been untouched by it.


WPL can be that big-ticket idea that unleashes the true power of women in sport, for the wider audience. One could argue that anything that works with cricket is not replicable to other sports. But here, gender, and not sport alone, is the operative word. And if one needs cricket to start the process of building awareness, then so be it.


I can’t wait for WPL 2023. Hope BCCI treats the event with great respect, and gives it the attention and the stature it deserves. The degree of WPL’s success will surprise many, is my little prediction.


Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.

Today's Top Stories