According to a report in The Telegraph, Surrey have started discussions with ECB to bring IPL teams to The Oval so as to recover from the financial losses suffered from the pandemic. Earlier, it was reported that the ECB were prepared to sell stakes in Hundred franchises to IPL teams as well.
In order to give the newly-conceptualized The Hundred competition by having Indian players on the side, ECB planned to offer IPL franchises a stake in Hundred teams alongside a slice of Asian television rights. ECB CEO Tom Harrison and Chairman Ian Watmore met the BCCI powers in Ahmedabad during the pink ball Test last month and discussed the same, but in a recent development, it has come out that out Surrey want to bring IPL teams to London to play an annual tournament at the Oval in matches worth £1m each.
"We think the most deliverable plan is at the end of season to bring an IPL team or teams from other parts of the world to play in a small baby-steps competition. There are two venues in London plus Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds all of whom I know would be interested in hosting those events but what we don’t currently have is a green light to do it," Surrey's chief executive Richard Gould told Telegraph Sport.
"All of the contracts we have signed in the last year have increased control measures from ECB that prevent us from putting on any significant games without their permission which makes us more nervous about investing in such a venture. If we get a green light from the ECB we know there is so much more we could do for the global audience that surrounds us in London."
England have a huge £1bn broadcasting deal with their partners Sky and BBC for exclusive rights to all English professional cricket between 2020-2024 and any matches which Surrey will arrange would sit outside that deal. To protect their partners, ECB have approached the hard way, which is a huge problem in Surrey's dream, and the approval from the BCCI won't be easy either. However, due to the pandemic and rocketing losses at big Test venues, Surrey believe they can tap into the "globalised audience" through this venture.
"This is moving in a more positive direction. I think ECB efforts are focussed on new competition but the major venues have suffered a significant financial shock because of Covid. We want to recover but we don’t just want to hand out the begging bowl to the ECB. We want to trade our way out of this. Every county in a major city has its own population it wants to work with. Whether it is Birmingham, Leeds or Manchester. We all look through the census and see what populations we have and want to find ways of doing more for them," Gould said.
"In football or rugby if you are a domestic team you can organise a friendly with a team from anywhere in the world and crack on. The FA and RFU actively support that. We are asking to operate similarly to other sports so we have more freedom to create our own events such as an annual event where we have an IPL team, Bangladesh team or Pakistani team playing friendly matches in London."