Updated 25-Oct-2021 • Published 25-Oct-2021

Blog: Lucknow, Ahmedabad new IPL cities as RPSG group and CVC Capital spend over USD 1.6 billion

By Sreshth Shah

Overview

  • The bidding process for the two new IPL franchises took place on Monday in Dubai.
  • There were nine bids in all, before it was announced that the Sanjiv Goenka-led RPSG group won Lucknow for INR 7090 crore while private-equity firm CVC Capital clinched Ahmedabad for INR 5625 crore
  • Unsuccessful bidders included the Adani Group and Lancer Capital, whose principal Avram Glazer comes from the same family as the one that owns Manchester United.

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    We have a winner! Lucknow, Ahmedabad new IPL cities

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    Now onto IPL 2022...

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    How will new teams affect the upcoming mega auction?

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    How will having 10 teams affect the IPL format?

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    Waiting for results...

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    Remembering the IPL teams lost in time

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    The soaring valuation of an IPL franchise

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    Poll: Which city do you wish gets the IPL team?

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    Cities and owners in contention

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    How to buy an IPL team?

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    Time to welcome two new IPL cities

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We have a winner! Lucknow, Ahmedabad new IPL cities

Breaking news: The Sanjiv Goenka-led RPSG group has won the bid for Lucknow at approx INR 7000 crore (over 932 million USD) while private equity firm CVC Capital (also referred to as Irelia) wins Ahmedabad at approx INR 5200 crore (over 692 million USD).

The RPSG group previously owned the Rising Pune Supergiant (2016 and 2017) team that played two seasons when CSK and Rajasthan Royals were banned. They will now move to Lucknow's Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Stadium - a shiny-new venue that was opened to the public only in November 2018 and can accommodate around 50,000 people.

CVC capital are an international conglomerate with offices throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. They were previous stakeholders in Formula 1 and recently took a minority-stake in La Liga, the top-flight football league of Spain. Their home will be the world's largest cricket stadium, the Narendra Modi Stadium, that has an advertised capacity of 132,000 people.

"It is good to be back in the IPL and I am delighted. It is an initial step. We now have to build a good team and perform,” Sanjiv Goenka, owner of the RPSG told ESPNcricinfo.

These two groups have beaten the other seven bidders that included frontrunners Adani Group and Lancer Capital, whose principal is Avram Glazer, part of the Glazer family that owns Manchester United. In total, over 1.5 billion US dollars have been spent this evening in Dubai.

What does the addition of two new franchises mean for the tournament format? That, and other questions answered here in our explainer.

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Now onto IPL 2022...

As the dust settles, it is now time to look ahead. Today, yet another building block was added to the IPL's ambition to be a 10-team tournament. No doubt there must have been hefty competition from the groups that could not win, but in the end, there will be smiles in the Goenka camp and in the offices at CVC Capital.

Just 12 hours ago, all of social media was trending with India's first World Cup defeat at the hands of Pakistan. And now, the only thing you can read is about the hard-fought IPL team bids. Well that's the power of the world's most lucrative franchise tournament.

It's now time for us to sign off from here, but before we do, a reminder that you can read everything about today's groundbreaking bids on ESPNcricinfo via our homepage, including what financial implications today's events have on the other eight teams in the tournament. Keep your eye out for that. Till then, this is Sreshth Shah saying thank you for joining us.

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How will new teams affect the upcoming mega auction?

It was always known that there would be a mega auction ahead of IPL 2022. But what we don't know yet is how it will happen. In the previous mega auction, every team was allowed to keep up to five players - either by retaining upto three and right-to-matching two - or retaining upto two and right-to-matching three.

But with the addition of two new teams, one thing is for certain that the upcoming mega auction won't be like the last one. While the "rules" for retention are not yet announced, there will definitely be some consideration made by the IPL governing council to ensure the two new teams have enough "top players" available from the auction pool to build their brand-new squad. Its all speculation at this point, but you'll probably see every team being allowed to "retain" fewer players than before. That makes things very interesting for the successful sides of the past few years like Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders, and perhaps even Chennai Super Kings. If you remember, CSK's Dhoni said after winning IPL 2021 that whether he plays for CSK or not will depend on those very rules.

It will also be interesting to see who "captains" these new teams - firstly, they will have to be "not retained" by the current teams to even have a chance to captain the new side. Decisions, decisions, but plenty of stuff to look forward to ahead of the next IPL. The next six months should be full of action! For now, we wait on the new teams.

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The agonising wait...

We've just been informed that the technical committee is still poring over all the technical documents submitted by the bidders. As the clock winds down to a long work day over there in Dubai, you have to wonder...will the announcement come today or will it spill over to tomorrow? For now, we still expect the announcement today - in around 30 minutes. This is like waiting for the outfield to dry up...

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How will having 10 teams affect the IPL format?

The 2022 edition will not be the first time the IPL will comprise 10 teams - that already happened a decade ago. It has been confirmed that the tournament format will follow the 2011 model, which scrapped the simple home-and-away format, and included a total of 74 matches (instead of the current number of 60). In the 2011 edition, the 10 teams were split into two loose groups, and the tournament comprised 70 league matches and four playoff games, with all the teams ranked in one composite league table. During the league phase, every team played the same number of league matches, which was 14.

Each team played the other four in their group both home and away (eight matches), four of the teams in the other group once each (four matches, either home or away), and the remaining team in the other group twice, both home and away. A random draw decided the composition of the groups as well as who played whom across the groups once and twice.

The last time more than eight teams played in the IPL was in 2013, when nine teams took part and played a total of 76 matches.

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Waiting for results...

Somebody has just whispered in our ears that the bid verification process is likely to take another hour. As per the original itinerary, we should've known the IPL's decision by now. Lots of paperwork, many processes to check off for the organisers. Remember, the sale of team is for "perpetuity" so you can understand why they would like to dot their i's and cross their t's. As we often see on the big screen at the ground, it is Decision Pending...

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Teams to be revealed soon

It appears that the potential bidders have done their bit, and now the ball is in the court of the BCCI and the IPL office-bearers. Not too long till we all know who the new teams are! Tick, tock, tick, tock...

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Remembering the IPL teams lost in time

It is not the first time that new teams will be added to the IPL, and as the competition gets even bigger with every passing year, it is unlikely to be the last as well. So let's go down memory lane to remember all those sides that came, enthralled, and then left the competition:

1. Deccan Chargers - Before DC meant Delhi Capitals, it referred to Deccan Chargers - the Hyderabad-based franchise that played the league from 2008 to 2012. They had the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Herschelle Gibbs, Pragyan Ojha entertaining audiences. Owned by Deccan Chronicles Holding Ltd, the team played four seasons from 2008 to 2012 but was then put up for sale. Later that year, the team was banned by the IPL governing council for breaching some contract terms, and that saw a new Hyderabad team in the form of Sunrisers Hyderabad come into the competition. The Chargers and the BCCI have then been at loggerheads in the courtrooms over whether their expulsion was lawful or not.

2. Pune Warriors India - One of two teams added ahead of IPL 2011, this was a team owned by Sahara India Pariwar. After one season, they boycotted the 2012 auctions over financial differences with the BCCI. However, they continued playing but not for long. Two days after IPL 2013 ended, they finally ended their relationship with the IPL, bringing a forgettable few years for the franchise to a close. They finished second-last, last and second-last. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly played his last IPL cricket for this side.

3. Kochi Tuskers Kerala - Along with Pune Warriors, the conglomerate-backed Kochi Tuskers came in ahead of IPL 2011. But they played just the lone season. Having a jersey of purple and orange (to symbolise the orange and purple caps), they finished eight out of ten teams. But after financial issues between the BCCI and them, the team was cut loose, and the players from the side were auctioned to other franchises ahead of IPL 2012.

4. Rising Pune Supergiant(s) - They started off as Supergiants, and dropped the s by the end of it. Following the two-year ban for Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for 2016 and 2017, this was a new team brought on for just those two seasons. Owned by RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, this side became the only other team that MS Dhoni would end up playing for apart from CSK. They could've very nearly been IPL champs in 2017, but a roaring Mitchell Johnson in Mumbai Indians stopped them in their tracks in a one-run defeat in the final. Almost the perfect ending for a side led by Steven Smith, as that would end up being their last game.

5. Gujarat Lions - Like the Supergiants, this team too had a stop-gap relationship with the IPL. Owned by electronics manufacturers Intex Technologies, this side had a dream start to the competition under Suresh Raina. They topped the 2016 league stage, but fell apart in the knockouts. In 2017, however, they could not repeat their 2016 heroics. They will always be remembered for their vibrant jerseys and the young and enthusiastic owner Keshav Bansal, who was always spotted waving the Lions flag in their games.

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The soaring valuation of an IPL franchise

That the IPL remains the most lucrative property in cricket can be gauged from the soaring valuation of the franchises. In 2008 Mumbai Indians was the richest franchise bought by richest man in India Mukesh Ambani at USD 112 million. But in 2010 when Pune and Kochi were added to the IPL map and the value accrued from the franchises’ sale was in excess of the original eight franchises combined in 2008. While the Sahara group paid USD 370million for the Pune franchise, a consortium of five companies called Rendezvous Sports World bid successfully for Kochi at USD 333.3 million.

A reminder that the latest bids have a minimum bid price of approx USD 270 million, but expect the final sale price to be much much more. Money, money, money, must be funny...we await the results from the bidding process.

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Poll: Which city do you wish gets the IPL team?

Fans, time for you to have your say. If you had to select one city as the home of the next IPL team - which one would you select? Tell us via the poll below...

Meanwhile, Nagraj Gollapudi tells me that nine of the 22 interested parties have now physically submitted their bids.

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Cities and owners in contention

We know there are (atleast) 22 groups that are trying to buy the two teams. From a global perspective, the biggest name is Lancer Capital, whose principal owner is Avram Glazer, the man whose family owns one of the biggest sporting franchises in the world - Manchester United. Other notable potential bidders are Adani Group, the Ahmedabad-based infrastructure giants, the Sanjeev Goenka-owned business conglomerate RPSG (who briefly owned the Pune franchise for two seasons), the Naveen Jindal-owned Jindal Steel, Torrent Pharma, Aurobindo Pharma, and Hindustan Times Media, along with a number of private equity companies. Incidentally, Naveen Jindal's brother Sajjan Jindal owns Jindal Steel Works, who is the co-owner of Delhi Capitals.

The potential bidders are massive names in business because the BCCI has put some checks in place to keep smaller groups away. One of the requirements listed in the tender document is that the bidders must show a turnover of at least INR 3000 crore [USD 400 million approx.] for the previous three years. If it is a consortium, then each investor would need to show a turnover of at least INR 2500 crore [US$ 334 million approx.] for the previous three years. These may seem like big numbers, but some of the potential bidders have vast business interests globally. For example, on the company website, the Adani Group lists its "market cap of over USD 122.45 billion comprising six publicly traded companies". Jindal Steel & Power has put its annual turnover at "USD 5.5 billion" on its website.

Also mentioned in the tender document was which cities could potentially be home to the two new teams. From West India, it's Ahmedabad. From the North, its Dharamsala and Lucknow. From Central India it is Indore, and from the East it is Cuttack and Guwahati. If our elves are to be believed, Lucknow (in Uttar Pradesh) and Ahmedabad (in Gujarat) are frontrunners, but there could be a dark horse or two in fray as well!

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How to buy an IPL team?

Once the BCCI announced in August 2021 that the IPL was being expanded, the first thing they did was make available a bid document that could be purchased by interested parties for INR 10 lac (approx. 13,300 USD). It was also learnt that the owners of these two teams will be owners 'in perpetuity', and that perhaps reflects in the minimum bid price that ESPNcricinfo understands will be INR 2000 crore (approx. 270 million USD). It was also made clear that investors can apply to purchase two teams, but eventually will have to settle on just one. According to the original timeline, the bids were meant to be opened on October 17, but it was delayed as the BCCI deferred the deadline to buy the tender twice - first October 10 and then October 20 - citing wide interest from potential bidders. And as it stands, these potential bidders are some of the biggest names in Indian (and global) business. More about the potential bidders in our upcoming updates.

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Time to welcome two new IPL cities

It's a big day in the history of the IPL today. In Dubai, business groups and conglomerates from all around the world have congregated to bid for the ninth and tenth IPL teams. From next season, the IPL becomes a ten-team tournament and this is the first step to identifying which cities (and which people) will be able to call an IPL team their own. If the pictures are anything to go by, it will be a grand event, and all eyes from the world of cricket will be on the ballroom. Watch this space for all the details - including who the big players are, and which city are frontrunners to get a piece of the IPL pie.

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