Women's IPL - All you need to know about the bidding process and auction

Who are the bidders? Which cities are in the fray? What is the auction purse? Here are all the answers

The build-up towards the inaugural Women's IPL (WIPL) has reached fever pitch. After completing an astounding media rights deal that will fetch it approximately USD 116.7 million over a five-year period, the BCCI is set to unveil the five franchise owners - along with the cities they have bid for - on January 25. Here's a ready reckoner from ESPNcricinfo with the lowdown on the auction process, the list of bidders, and the auction purse.
Who are the prospective bidders in the fray?
As many as 33 interested parties - including all ten men's IPL franchises - had initially expressed interest by securing the tender document. But on Monday, only 17 entities submitted technical bids, including seven men's IPL franchises: Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The other bidders include Adani Group, Capri. Global, Haldiram's Group, Torrent Pharma, Apollo Pipes, Amrit Leela Enterprises, Shriram Group and Slingshot 369 Ventures Private Limited.
Is there a set base price? And what is the auction process?
No base price has been set by the BCCI. Bidders will submit their bids in a sealed envelope. Bids will be accepted for a ten-year period, but the winners will own the team for perpetuity just like the owners of the men's IPL franchises do. Bidders will vie for one of the ten cities the BCCI has shortlisted as home bases.
The cities are (stadium capacity in brackets): Ahmedabad (112,560), Kolkata (65,000), Chennai (50,000), Bengaluru (42,000), Delhi (55,000), Dharamsala (20,900), Guwahati (38,650), Indore (26,900), Lucknow (48,800) and Mumbai, which has three grounds - the Wankhede, DY Patil and Brabourne Stadiums.
Can a bid be made for more than one city?
Bidders have been given the option of contesting more than one franchise or city, but the BCCI will award them only the city they have bid a higher amount for. In case two of the highest bids for a single venue are equal, a re-bid will take place.
And if the highest bids for two venues from two different bidders are the same, the BCCI will have the "discretion to decide the order". In case a bidder raises the top bid for more than one city, the bidder can choose its preferred venue.
Will the highest bid be the winning bid?
In the bid document, BCCI has said that it is not "obliged to accept highest monetary offer", and has listed some objectives it will look into before finalising the winner. These include: "establishing a stable, successful, financially secure, long-term Franchise to participate in the League; ensuring the widest coverage and the widest possible audience for the League; assisting in the development of the game of women's cricket in India at all levels; maximizing and enhancing exposure, wherever possible, for each of the official sponsors of the League; and, increasing and enhancing exposure for women's cricket in India both within India and the rest of the world."
When is the player auction?
No firm date has been announced by the BCCI, but the auction is expected to be held in the first week of February. The BCCI has already concluded the player-registration process as a first step towards conducting the auction.
What is the auction purse?
INR 12 crore (USD 1.46 million approx.) will be the auction purse for the inaugural season. Each team can buy a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 18 players, including seven overseas players including at least one Associate player. Unlike in the men's IPL, WIPL teams will have the option of fielding up to five overseas players in the XI, provided one is from an Associate country.
What about the tournament dates?
Although not officially announced, ESPNcricinfo understands that a window between March 3 and 26 has been carved out.
What will the tournament's format be?
A total of 22 matches will be played in the inaugural season, with each team playing the other twice to make it a total of eight games per team. The top-ranked team will enter the final directly, while the second- and third-placed teams will face off in a Qualifier to determine the second finalist.