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Man United owners blown away as astonishing $2b IPL deal makes it 'most powerful' comp in the sport

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25th October, 2021
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The Indian Premier League (IPL) has unveiled two new teams for the Twenty20 competition, with the Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises sold for a combined 127.15 billion Indian rupees ($A2.3 billion) in Dubai.

The RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, which owned the now-defunct Pune franchise for two IPL campaigns, bid 70.9 bn Indian rupees for the Lucknow outfit.

Irelia Company Pte. Ltd. (CVC Capital Partners) bid a little over 56 bn Indian rupees for the Ahmedabad side. Irelia, which has offices in Europe, Asia and the Americas, has been involved in Formula 1 and recently bought stakes in Spain’s football league, La Liga.

Both teams will compete in the competition from the 2022 edition, which will have 10 teams and 74 matches with each side playing seven home and seven away games.

The league had approved a proposal in December to add two franchises to the world’s richest Twenty20 competition, which has an estimated brand value of $US6.8 bn ($A9.1 bn).

There were seven other bidders for the two new franchises that also included Avram Glazer’s Lancer Capital. The Glazer family owns Manchester United.

“The Invitation to Tender process included two interested bidders from outside of India, which strongly emphasises the global appeal of the IPL as a sports property,” BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly said.

The cricket communuty was stunned by the size of the winning bids.

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Ashes-winning England captain Michael Vaughan wrote: “With the 2 new franchises going for huge numbers it’s now very clear the IPL is the most powerful aspect of game now. It’s inevitable that we will see more games & longer tournaments.”

Ex-Indian opener turned pundit Aakash Chopra said on social media “the valuation of the new teams has taken the #IPL to a whole new level”.

Indian broadcaster Harsha Bhogle added: “I must admit I am blown away by the size of the bids. The cricket economy just gets more buoyant and I don’t see how it can stop at 74 games a year. This is a huge vote of confidence in the Indian consumer’s willingness to watch the IPL.”

The Luxembourg based CVC has a cash chest of more than $130 billion which it has used in recent years to change international sport.

CVC has already spent several billion dollars to take major stakes in international rugby union and top football properties such as Spain’s La Liga championship.

It has also bought into the International Volleyball Federation, previously owned Formula One and has been in talks in recent months to merge the men’s and women’s international tennis tours and to take a stake in the San Antonio Spurs NBA franchise.

Sourav Ganguly, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, which runs the IPL, said it was “heartening” to see the teams sold for “such a high valuation”.

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“It reiterates the cricketing and financial strength of our cricket ecosystem,” Ganguly said.

He added the involvement of two foreign bidders, CVC and the Glazers, “strongly emphasises the global appeal of the IPL as a sports property. The IPL is proving to be a wonderful instrument in globalising the game of cricket”.

RPGS owns one of India’s top football teams, Mohun Bagan, and used to be part of the IPL with the Rising Pune Supergiants, which took part in the tournament when two teams were banned in 2016-2017 over a corruption scandal.

Members of the two teams were charged with illegal betting and spot-fixing. The IPL has been dogged by other corruption and gambling scandals.

But it attracts huge TV audiences in India, and has spawned T20 tournaments around the globe.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was estimated to generate more than $14.6 billion for the Indian economy each year.

© AAP

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