The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) governing body has confirmed the five franchises that will compete in the inaugural season of the 2023 Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL) T20 competition later this year.

The first-ever WIPL, the female version of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the biggest T20 franchise competition, is scheduled to run across three weeks in March and will feature a total of 22 matches.

The five successful host cities have today (January 25) been confirmed as Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, and Lucknow. Their respective owners paid a total of $572.8 million to buy the rights, including a top bid of around $158 million from Indian conglomerate Adani Group for the Ahmedabad franchise.

The owners of IPL teams Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Delhi Capitals secured the ownership of the Mumbai ($112 million), Bengaluru ($110 million), and Delhi ($99.4 million) franchises, respectively.

The other two teams were awarded to Adani Group (Ahmedabad) and financial firm Capri Global (Lucknow).

The owners of four other IPL franchises, Kolkata Knight Riders, Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals, and Sunrisers Hyderabad were unsuccessful with their bids.

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BCCI secretary Jay Shah said: “Today is a historic day in cricket as the bidding for teams of the inaugural WPL broke the records of the inaugural men’s IPL in 2008.

“This marks the beginning of a revolution in women’s cricket and paves the way for a transformative journey ahead not only for our women cricketers but for the entire sports fraternity.”

The announcement comes after the BCCI began the tender process to find buyers for teams for the inaugural edition of the competition earlier this month (January 3), with all interested parties ordered to pay the equivalent of $7,240 by January 21 to secure the official invitation to tender document.

A player auction is due to take place early next month (February), with each team able to sign up to seven overseas players.

The BCCI has already sold the tournament’s domestic media rights for the next five years to Viacom18, one of India’s leading entertainment networks, for $116 million ($23 million per year).

BCCI president Roger Binny added: “I congratulate the winners for making successful bids to win WIPL teams. The league will give players from India and abroad a chance to learn and grow together.

“It will pave the way for development at the grassroots level with the inclusion of more women cricketers.”

The WIPL, which was confirmed in October, will follow the Women's Hundred in the UK and the Women's Big Bash League in Australia as major domestic tournaments for female cricketers.

Image: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images