Ahead of the e-auction for the new media rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has hinted at increasing the number of matches in the cash-rich league per season in the next cycle of 2023-27.
As per indications, the numbers will add up to 410 with a gradual increase after every two editions. It has been learned that the Indian cricket board would schedule 74 games in the first two years of the cycle - 2023 and 2024 - followed by 84 matches in the next couple of seasons.
In the fifth and final season of the cycle, it could be 94 although the BCCI has kept the option of 84 games also open. However, the bidders for the media rights are believed to have been advised to go with the calculation of 410 games, and not 370, a Cricbuzz report said.
If this plan gets implemented, then it would be interesting to see how the BCCI/IPL will break down the number of games for each team so that the desired numbers 84 and 94 numbers are added up perfectly. It is likely that in the case of 94 games, each team will play twice each, home and away -- the regular format -- followed by the four play-offs.
As of now, the league is divided into two virtual groups of five teams with each side playing twice against four others in its group, once against four of the other group and twice against the remaining one team. If the playoff clashes are included, the number goes up to 74. In the case of 84, the formula could be playing twice against each side in one's own group, twice against two of the other group and once against the remaining three.
The report further stated that there is no ambiguity in the number of games for the Special non-exclusive Package (C) when the number of games goes up in the upcoming seasons.
Earlier, it was reported that the special package will have the rights to 18 matches in a 74-game season. And, it has been now learnt that there will be 20 games for an 84-game season and 22 games for a 94-game edition.
In total, the number of games in Package C in five years will be 96, which includes the opening match of every season, four playoffs and the night matches of the double-headers.