KOLKATA: The world’s richest cricket league could see an offspring being launched in the US to tap the Indian expat community, The Indian Express newspaper reported on Friday.
The US chapter of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be a miniature version spread over three weeks – as compared to the two months taken for it to play out in its current format, it said.
The paper quoted an Indian cricket official as saying that “space” could be created on the international cricket calendar as the T20 Champions League had been scrapped, freeing up both overseas and Indian cricketers from national duty.
“We want as many star players to participate as possible,” an official told The Indian Express on condition of anonymity.
“We are proposing that all eight teams participate in the mini-IPL,” he was quoted as saying.
The league’s administrators will meet in the north Indian hill town of Dharamsala on Friday to identify a timeslot for the tournament and take a final call on the venue.
Apparently, the US is “one of the options” as a venue, another being the UAE, where the seventh edition of IPL was staged in part. The paper did not say if other venues were being considered.
IPL administrators had first floated the idea of a mini-IPL last September – comprising only the top four teams – and had identified the UAE as the venue because of its sizeable population of Indian expatriates.
League franchises are reportedly upbeat about the proposal. “They are keen to broaden their fan base and increase the popularity of the league in other parts of the world, too,” the official said.
Incidentally, IPL has recently been valued at $4.13 billion by brand evaluator Brand France.
The Indian diaspora in the US is estimated at around 3.2 million, while another 1.2 million are settled in neighbouring Canada.
They also constitute one of the most affluent ethnic groups, which will be a shot in the arm for the US edition of IPL.
According to US think-tank Pew Research Center, the median annual household income for Indian Americans in 2010 was $88,000, much higher than for all Asian Americans ($66,000) and all US households ($49,800).