Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
Indian business conglomerate Jindal South West (JSW) Sports has bought a 50% ownership stake in IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils. ESPNcricinfo understands JSW Sports' valuation of the Daredevils franchise was worth INR 1100 crore (USD 169 million approx), which is double the amount the franchise was originally bought at in 2008. This means JSW Sports will pay the Daredevils' owners GMR Sports Private Ltd INR 550 crore (USD 84.5 million approx) for the partnership.
The deal will be sealed once the IPL Governing Council gives it its stamp of approval, something which is expected soon.
In its decade-long existence, this is the first time in the IPL that a franchise has sold a major chunk of its ownership stake. In 2008, when the franchises were sold by the BCCI, the GMR Group bought Daredevils for USD 84 million at the time.
In business circles it was known that JSW Sports was looking for a deal to get into the IPL. However, the franchises remained uncertain. One recent significant development that has played a role in this deal was the record-breaking IPL media-rights contract last year. Star India won the global bid for the IPL broadcasting rights (television and digital), paying INR 16,347.5 crore (USD 2.55 billion) for a five-year contract (2018-2022), making it the most expensive media-rights deal in cricket ever.
It also meant that going forward, each IPL franchise would pocket INR 150 crore (USD 23.4 million) from the central-revenue pool, twice the amount they had been working with in the first ten seasons. Each franchise, as a result, is likely to have a profit of about INR 50 crore (USD 7.8 million approx) per season for the next five years.
"It is good for the IPL," a BCCI official said on the GMR-JSW Sports partnership. "Transactions like these to have to happen. This will have a cascading effect. You needed a reference point and now you have one."
Parth Jindal, head of JSW Sports, said that the foray into cricket was an extension to the group's already established investments in sport. JSW Sports also own franchises in football, kabaddi and wrestling leagues in India. The company owns Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League, which is the equivalent of IPL in Indian football. "This is something that we as a group are excited about," Jindal said.
Kiran Grandhi, the GMR Group's chairman, said the deal with JSW Sports was "symbolic" of the "immense potential" of cricket in the country.