Sri Lanka Premier League 2012 June 20, 2012

Healthy investor interest shown in SLPL franchises

There is a healthy appetite for the privatisation of cricket in Sri Lanka, going by the number of potentially interested investors in the Sri Lanka Premier League. Despite uncertainty about the participation of Indian players in the event, an SLC official told ESPNcricinfo that they have issued 13 bid applications for the seven franchises so far, with significant interest from investors based in India as well.

"The last date for submitting the bids is June 25, so we could see as many as 15 or 16 applications being bought," the official said.

The base price for the franchises has been set at US$3 million, a far cry from the $50 million that the IPL set for the first team auction in 2008, but Sri Lanka is a much smaller market than India and the SLPL franchises are not being sold outright. They are being leased for a period of seven years, after which the franchisees will have to renegotiate their deals.

The decision to franchise the teams is a marked difference from the original intention last year, when SLC would have retained ownership of all seven teams rather than involve private enterprise. The results of the process are bound to be closely watched, as they could provide a blueprint for smaller countries that want to host their own Twenty20 leagues.

The deadline to submit bids is 2pm on June 25, and all the bids will be opened later the same day. The same investor can bid for up to three franchises. If one bidder submits the highest bid for more than one franchise, they will be allowed their choice of franchise. Once the franchises have been allotted, a player draft will be held to determine the composition of the teams.

The tournament 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