Surrey want to stage Indian Premier League matches in England in a project that could be worth ‘tens of millions of pounds’ to the cash-strapped domestic game.
The biggest county club hope to bring the world’s most lucrative franchise competition to the Kia Oval and other Test grounds.
Crucially, the plan would be to hold official games, similar to those brought to London by American sporting giants such as the NFL, after kicking off the project with exhibition matches involving IPL teams as soon as Covid allows.
Surrey want to stage Indian Premier League matches at the Kia Oval and other Test grounds
The plan would be to hold official games (pic – the Mumbai Indians celebrate their 2019 win)
‘We would love to bring the IPL to London and other areas of England,’ Surrey chairman Richard Thompson told Sportsmail.
‘We think that’s the silver bullet in terms of reaching a more diverse audience for cricket in this country.
‘We could stage games in the same way Jacksonville Jaguars, for one, play legitimate NFL games in London. The windfalls that staging the Champions Trophy and World Cup provided for English cricket were huge and we see the IPL on that level.
‘This could be worth tens of millions to the English game. We have all lost so much money through Covid that we have to be more creative and provide cricket that generates revenue you wouldn’t otherwise have made. That’s why I think IPL is a no-brainer.’
The plan would be to hold official games in a similar manner to the NFL matches in London
Surrey have sought the backing of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is understood to be supportive.
The Labour politician could be a formidable ally as his team have a track record of bringing major international sporting events to London.
City Hall officials were involved in the negotiations when Tottenham secured a 10-year agreement to host NFL matches at their new stadium.
Sadiq Khan (R) was personally involved in the talks that brought MLB to London two years ago
And Khan was personally involved in the talks that brought Major League Baseball to the capital two years ago, with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees playing two regular season games at West Ham’s London Stadium.
In the build-up to the baseball talks, the 50-year-old was given the honour of throwing the ceremonial first pitch at a game between New York Mets and Minnesota Twins on a visit to America.
Khan is seeking re-election as Mayor next month and bringing the money-spinning IPL to London during a second five-year term could feature as part of his campaign.