The bidding for the eight franchises of the inaugural Karnataka Premier League (KPL) has fetched a total of Rs 35 crore ($7.36 million approx) , with Brigade Enterprises, part of the Brigade Group, making the highest bid of Rs 7.20 crore ($1.51 million approx) for the ownership rights of the Bangalore Urban team. The realty group won the bid, payable over a period of five years, during the bidding process which took place at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.

"The response is tremendous and we will receive a sum of Rs 35 crore over a period of five years," said Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) secretary Brijesh Patel. "This is more than we expected. We have a good group of people on board and we can now work together to develop the game in all parts of the state. It is now our responsibility to give the people of Karnataka who have backed us, a good product."

Initally, 22 bids from a group of corporates, real estate builders and politicians were filed, and after scrutiny, SVK Minerals was rejected on technical grounds. Melmont Constructions Pvt Ltd, part of the Puravankara Group, netted the Bangalore Rural team with a winning bid of Rs 5.55 crore ($1.15 million approx), while Mysore, Belgaum, Shimoga, Mangalore, Hubli-Dharwad and Gulbarga were the other zones that were grabbed up. However, Bellary and Raichur missing out from the list announced by KSCA president Srikantadatta Wadiyar.

Up next is the players' auction on August 14, and the KSCA is finalising the first list of the top 48 players -- six per each zonal team -- who will be part of the player-pool besides a second rung of 72 cricketers. The first list will be produced to the team owners by Friday. Before the auction though, the KSCA will need to obtain permission from the BCCI for releasing the non-Karnataka players, three per team, who will not coming under any budget cap.

Meanwhile the reservations expressed by Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath over the league not being a positive development were countered by Patel. "The two players - Kumble and Srinath - have nothing against the tournament or the Twenty20 format. They are against the franchisee model that we have used for the tournament. It's their view.

"We decided upon this tournament in our managing committee meeting and we are doing this to help improve the infrastructure in the rural areas and also give exposure to players. Rural players will get the chance to play day and night matches, under lights, watched by crowds and once they cope with this pressure they can play anywhere."

"There is no doubt that Anil and Srinath are iconic players and they are entitled to their views in a democratic set-up but this tournament will help the game in Karnataka," Wadiyar said.

Most of the fixtures in the tournament, which runs from September 12-27, will be held in Bangalore, with Mysore also hosting four matches.

Bangalore Urban - Owner: Brigade Enterprises, Rs 7.2 cr ($1.51 million approx)
Bangalore Rural - Owner: Melmont Constructions, Rs. 5.55 cr ($1.15 million approx)
Mysore - Owner: Girish Auto, Rs 3.25 cr ($0.68 million approx)
Belgaum - Owner: Subash Enterprises, Rs 3.81 cr ($0.80 million approx)
Shimoga - Owner: Jayaprakash Hegde, Rs 3.25 cr ($0.68 million approx)
Mangalore - Owner: Fiza Developers, Rs 4.23 cr ($0.89 million approx)
Hubli-Dharwad - Owner: Shiv Shankarappa, Rs 3.77 cr ($0.79 million approx)
Gulbarga - Owner: Vivid Creations and Nandish Reddy Group, Rs 3.5 cr ($0.73 million approx)

($1= Rs 47.51)