Pune and Kochi join IPL bandwagon (Roundup)

March 21st, 2010 - 6:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Shashi Tharoor Chennai, March 21 (IANS) Sahara Adventure Sports Group and Rendezvous Sports World Limited successfully bid for Pune and Kochi franchise teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction held here Sunday.
The Sahara ASG, which had also bid for Ahmedabad and Nagpur, purchased Pune for $370 million while Rendezvous SWL forked out $333.3 million as against the minimum bid amount of $225 million.

The two new teams will join the existing eight in the 2011 IPL tournament. Under the present format (home and away, all-play-all), the number of matches from the next season will swell to 94 from the current 60.

IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said on unveiling the bids: “Sahara’s bid of $370 million (Rs.1,702 crore) is the highest amongst the five bidders and Rendezvous was the second highest having quoted $333.33 million (Rs.1,533.32 crore). These two companies have bid for a period of 10 years.”

Proximity to Mumbai, available infrastructure, the construction of a stadium bordering the Pune-Mumbai Expressway and also the city’s demography were critical factors that persuaded Sahara to opt for Pune, according to the company’s corporate communications head Abhijit Sarkar.

“The Sahara group is immensely proud to have won the bid. The people of Pune will be proud of the team. We cannot wait for IPL 2011 to commence,” Sarkar said.

Rendezvous emerged as the surprise package and Modi said that Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor played his part in getting Kerala an IPL franchisee.

“Tharoor was involved in getting people together to bid for Kochi. He is an ardent fan of cricket and he wanted to see an IPL team from Kochi and his wish has been fulfilled.”

Tharoor, on his part, said his role is of a mentor and he encouraged the business houses to think of Kerala. He said the team will immensely benefit young cricketers here.

“All I did on my part was to offer encouragement, blessings and expert advise when required to the bidders. Beyond that, I had no role to play. I understand it’s a business decision,” Tharoor said in Kochi.

“IPL is an extremely valuable activity that is here to stay and grow. It will go a long way in terms of its popularity,” he said. “It will capture the spirit of the enthusiasm of the young and give young Keralites a team to identify with.”

“I do not own the team, but I will certainly give my opinion when asked for it,” a beaming Tharoor added.

Rendezvous WSL is led by business magnate Shailendra Gaekwad alongwith Vivek Venugopal and a few others.

“We have closely been following every development within the IPL right from the inaugural year. I am very happy for our consortium and the people of Kochi as we finally have a team to call our own in this amazing city based sports franchise,” said Gaekwad.

Sahara and Rendezvous outbid three others parties Videocon, Jaypee Group and Adani, and are required to pay up 10 per cent of the bid amount within 48 hours of winning the franchise rights.

In the first IPL auction three years back, eight teams were sold for Rs.2,840 crore while this time the two new teams fetched an astronomical Rs.3,235.53 crore.

“It only shows there is no recession for the IPL and it is in the upswing,” Modi said.

Modi ruled out further expansion of the IPL in terms of number of teams, but qualified the assertion with a teaser, saying: “I do not see further expansion for some years, but you never know.”

The bidding process was first held on March 7, but was postponed due to paucity of bidders and objections by the BCCI to the clause that required the bidders to be worth $1 billion.

The IPL also removed the earlier clause of an advance deposit of $100 million and revised it to $10 million “performance guarantee” amount to be submitted 24 hours before the bids were opened.

Also in attendance at auction were Bollywood stars Salman Khan, Saif Khan and Katrina Kaif, though nobody quite knew whom they represented or in what capacity.

Incidentally, Reliance had paid $111.9 million to bag the franchise rights for Mumbai team, followed by Vijay Mallya’s UB Group who paid out $111.6 Million to purchase the Bangalore side in the inaugural season in 2008.

The other winning bids at that time were (in US dollars): Chennai - 91 million; Hyderabad - 107 million; Delhi - 84 million; Jaipur - 67 million; Mohali - 76 million and Kolkata - 75.09 million.

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