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Around 14 Indian companies in fray for two IPL franchises - BCCI

At least 10 companies have paid Rs.2 lakh each to pick up the so-called invitation to tender, or ITT, documents to bid for the two new teams that will play in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the popular Indian Premier League (IPL) after the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals earlier this year, according to top officials at the Indian cricket board.

Chettinad Cements Ltd, RPG Enterprises, RP Sanjiv Goenka Group and Videocon Industries Ltd are among those that have picked up the documents.

Mint couldn’t independently corroborate reports that NDTV Ltd, Yes Bank Ltd and Intex Technologies have also picked up the forms.

The ITT forms were released soon after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) held its annual general meeting in Mumbai this month. The ITT documents, according to information on the BCCI website, are available for collection “by interested parties (against a formal request letter on official letterhead) at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai. The tender fee, non-refundable and non-adjustable, was set at Rs.2 lakh.

 

Only parties that have purchased the ITT document (or belonging to the same group of firms on whose behalf the ITT document was purchased) are entitled to participate in the tender process.

- the website adds.

The tender process itself has attracted a “great response”, according to IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla. His colleague, Anurag Thakur, also the BCCI secretary, said, “As of now, there are more than 10 companies who have purchased the invitation to tender forms, and four more companies are seriously considering the same.” The last date for purchasing the tender form is 30 November. BCCI expects to announce the two new teams in the first week of December.

Earlier this month, the IPL governing council shortlisted nine venues for the two new teams. Kochi and Jaipur, which previously hosted the IPL, are not on the venues list this time around. The venues for which interested parties can bid for include Chennai, Ahmedabad, Ranchi, Dharamsala, Indore, Kanpur, Cuttack, Nagpur and Visakhapatnam.

Predictably, Chennai is among the venues generating the maximum interest among those who purchased the tender document. Chettinad Cements, part of the Chettinad Group, one of the biggest conglomerates in South India, is among those interested.

MAMR Muthiah Chettiar, vice-chairman, Chettinad Cements, said, “The application has been procured but the decision on buying the franchise is yet to be taken.”

There were reports that former BCCI president A.C. Muthiah could be a part of Chettinad’s IPL bid. Muthiah, however, denied such reports. Muthiah is the first cousin of MAM Ramaswamy, the former patriarch of the Chettinad Group which is now controlled by the latter’s estranged son, MAMR Muthiah Chettiar.

Kolkata-based conglomerate RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group has also procured the bid document. Goenka, who is co-owner of the Indian Super League (ISL) football franchise, Atletico de Kolkata, said in a media conference last week: “I just started with football. You can expect us to invest in other sport in a much bigger way in the near future.”

In a 14 November report, the Hindustan Times, quoting people it didn’t identify, said Goenka “has shown interest in buying stakes in the Delhi Daredevils franchise from present owner Kiran Grandhi.”

It added that Goenka was “advised by Sourav Ganguly to bid for a new IPL franchise from Ahmedabad or Kanpur or Indore.” Former India captain Ganguly is co-owner of the Atletico de Kolkata ISL franchise.

Goenka’s brother, Harsh Goenka, chairman of the RPG Group, has also procured the bid document. Soon after the Lodha Committee’s recommendations in July that led to the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, Harsh Goenka had publicly expressed interest in buying one of the two new teams. An RPG Group spokesperson said: “We are studying the BCCI proposal but no decision has been taken yet.”

According to a high-ranking BCCI official who asked not to be identified, media congolomerate NDTV has also procured the bid document. A spokesman for the firm denied this, though.

The Videocon group has been eyeing a franchise in the IPL for the last five years. The Venugopal Dhoot-led conglomerate has procured the requisite bid documents.

In 2010, when BCCI auctioned two franchises, Videocon unsuccessfully bid for Pune, which was won by Sahara Adventure Sports Group for $370 million. In 2012, Videocon was in contention to buy the now-defunct Deccan Chargers. However, it pulled out of the franchise auction held in October that year.

In an email response, Videocon Group director Anirudh Dhoot said - 

 

We are still working on branding opportunities and the expenses involved. We will be taking a decision this week.

Two of the IPL’s sponsors, Intex Technologies and Yes Bank, may also be eyeing the franchises on offer. Intex Technologies, which was one of the twenty20 tournament’s associate sponsors this year, has also purchased the bid document from the BCCI. Multiple calls to the company’s spokesperson went unanswered.

Similarly, Yes Bank, which signed a five-year IPL sponsorship deal in 2013, is also reportedly keen to own a franchise. However, a senior official at the bank who did not want to be named said, “We are not in the business of investing in sports teams.”

BCCI is expecting to earn “great value” from the two franchises that will be auctioned on 8 December. Thakur added -

 

Let maximum people bid for the franchises. The bidding will be done in a free, fair and transparent manner. We are expecting great value for the teams and are looking forward to successful IPL seasons in 2016 and 2017.

According to Indranil Das Blah, chief operating officer, KWAN Entertainment and Marketing Solutions Pvt. Ltd, a talent and sports management firm, IPL will always have takers. “Even after (former title sponsors) DLF and Pepsi left, you’ll have 10 other companies in line to take their place. IPL is still the largest media property we have. Besides, it happens bang at the start of summer, which is when most companies launch new products. Stable TRPs (television rating points) and audiences for a month-and-a-half make this a viable option,” he said.

Source - Mint



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