Sri Lanka Premier League 2012 June 26, 2012

SLPL franchises fetch average of $4.3 million

Sri Lanka Cricket has auctioned the seven Sri Lanka Premier League teams for an average price of $4.3 million, an SLC official has said. However, the names of the successful bidders, along with their respective teams, will only be announced once they have been approved by SLC's executive committee.

The prices of the franchises represent a substantial increase over the cost of teams in the Bangladesh Premier League, where six teams were sold for $6.49 million, with none of them going for much more than the base price of $1 million. However, the figures still pale in comparison to the IPL, which had its first eight teams bring in $723 million.

One crucial difference between the SLPL and the IPL is that the teams have only been leased for an initial period of seven years and not sold outright. At the end of the period, the franchisees will need to sign a fresh agreement but will have the first right of refusal. The reserve price for the franchises had been set at $3 million.

In order to determine the teams, the franchises will take part in the player draft, to be held on July 5 and 6. A lottery will be held to determine the order in which players are picked. SLC will determine the value of the contract for each player in advance and the franchises will be made aware of the cost of the player. The players are likely to be drafted in two groups - the first consisting of players from Sri Lanka and the second all the foreign players. The draft is being seen as the best way to ensure that players are evenly distributed among the teams, making it a level playing field.

The SLPL was supposed to kick off last year. However, the Sri Lankan board was forced to postpone the tournament after the BCCI refused to allow its players to participate at the last minute, causing a delay in the naming of the final composition of the teams and affecting overall preparations for the event. In addition, SLC's interim committee that signed the deal was subsequently replaced and there was criticism of some of the clauses in the contract with Somerset Entertainment Ventures by the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE). A new contract was subsequently signed earlier this year.

The SLPL starts on August 10, with the final to be held on August 31. There will be 24 games in total, split between Colombo and Pallekele.

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo