In 2008, when the Indian Premier League was a fledgling venture and investing in it was something of a leap of faith, eight victorious bidders collectively pumped in around Rs 3,000 crore to bag eight franchises. Thirteen years on, with the IPL firmly enthroned as one of the premier sports properties in the world, one company, RP-Sanjiv Goenka (RPSG) Group, bid Rs 7,090 crore – more than double the collective figure raised in 2008 – to walk away with the Lucknow franchise.
Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners was the other winner, bagging Ahmedabad for Rs 5,625 crore.
The Indian cricket board (BCCI) began the bid process at 12.30pm IST in Dubai (11am local time) and spent the first six hours technically evaluating all bids to see if they met the eligibility criteria. It’s only from 6.30pm IST onwards that the board began to look at the financial bids.
Adani Sportsline, considered a frontrunner for the Ahmedabad franchise, submitted a bid of Rs 5,100 crore for Ahmedabad as well as Lucknow. CVC bid Rs 5,625 crore for Ahmedabad and Rs 5,166 crore for Lucknow.
RPSG Group bid the same amount (Rs 7,090) for both Ahmedabad and Lucknow. BCCI gave RPSG the choice of picking a city first, by virtue of being the top bidder, and the group settled for Lucknow. The Ahmedabad franchise thus automatically went to CVC.
As one of the world’s largest private equity players, CVC comes with a deep knowledge of sports franchises and businesses. The PE player has been a very successful partner and business-builder for global sports platforms such as La Liga, Formula One, the rugby league and Moto-GP.
A world leader in private equity and credit with $117.8 billion of assets under management, CVC Capital will not just put the IPL under a global spotlight but is also expected to add serious value to the T20 league.
BILLION DOLLAR BABIES
RPSG group had earlier owned Pune franchise of IPL; new teams to play from the 2022 season
We had promised that IPL will be bigger and better from the 15th season and with Lucknow and Ahmedabad, we will take the league to different parts of India. The IPL has established gold standards for leagues across the world. My best wishes to the two new teams,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah was quoted as saying, in a statement released by the board.
“CVC’s entry is huge for the BCCI, IPL and the game of cricket because this will take IPL’s appeal and overall valuation to the next level. This is the first time a global player has set foot in IPL. The RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group too has dipped its foot in the IPL in the past when they owned the franchise in Pune for two years. They also have a very good experience of running sports franchises,” BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal told TOI.
In 2016, when the Supreme Court had banned Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings from the IPL for two years, BCCI – under its then chief operating officer Sundar Raman – had conducted a unique reverse-bidding process for two franchises to operate in the IPL during the interim period.
RPSG Group had, back then too, worked on the numbers better than any other bidder, to grab the Pune franchise for the 2016 and 2017 editions.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel congratulated the two winning bidders. “The ITT process included two interested bidders from outside of India, which strongly emphasises the global appeal of the IPL as a sports property,” Ganguly said in the BCCI statement.
The other bidders who participated in the IL bidding process were Amrit Lila Enterprises Pvt Ltd (Kotak), Avashya Corporation Cargo Pvt Ltd (All Cargo Logistics), financial company Capri Global, Championship Cricket LLC (Avaram Glazer), Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd (HT Media) and Torrent Sports Ventures Pvt Ltd.
All the bidders submitted bids for Ahmedabad and Lucknow while RPSG Group was the only company to submit a Rs 4,790 crore-bid for Indore.
The new franchises will participate in the Indian Premier League from the 2022 season.