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Lucknow, Ahmedabad awarded IPL expansion franchises

RPSG Ventures and CVC Capital Partners have acquired Indian Premier League expansion franchises in Lucknow and Ahmedabad, respectively, with the latter to play its home matches at Narendra Modi Stadium, the largest cricket venue in the world.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed yesterday (Monday) that RPSG had acquired the Lucknow franchise for INR7090 crores (£685m/€813m/$945m), with CVC Capital Partners having acquired the Ahmedabad team for INR5625 crores. The amounts will be paid over a 10-year period.

The successful bidders were announced after the governing council of the IPL had issued an invitation to tender to acquire the right to own and operate two new franchises. The bids were submitted by authorised representatives of the interested parties in Dubai yesterday, and the successful bids are subject to definitive documentation and other formalities being completed.

The two new franchises will enter the IPL from the 2022 season, which will comprise 10 teams and feature 74 matches. The Ahmedabad team will play at Narendra Modi Stadium, which opened in February 2020 and has a seated capacity of 110,000. The Lucknow franchise is set to play its home games at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, which has a capacity of 50,000.

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said: “I would like to congratulate RPSG Ventures Ltd. & Irelia Company Pte Ltd (CVC Capital Partners) for being the successful bidders. The IPL will now go to two new cities in India viz in Lucknow and Ahmedabad. It is heartening to see the inclusion of two new teams at such a high valuation, and it reiterates the cricketing and financial strength of our cricket ecosystem.

“True to IPL’s motto of ‘Where Talent Meets Opportunity’, the inclusion of two new teams will bring more domestic cricketers from our country to the global stage. The ITT process included two interested bidders from outside of India, which strongly emphasises the global appeal of the IPL as a sports property.”

Jay Shah, honorary secretary of the BCCI, added: “The IPL has established gold standards for leagues across the world and remains a premium event on the sporting calendar as it has grown rapidly in a short span. Despite numerous challenges posed by COVID-19, the 13th and 14th seasons were completed, and the bids prove that interested parties have faith in BCCI and its hosting capabilities. I am thrilled for the people of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat as the long wait is over and they will now have their own IPL team. My best wishes to the two new teams.”

Other cities that had been shortlisted as potential franchise locations were Cuttack, Dharamsala, Guwahati and Indore.

CVC’s acquisition of the Ahmedabad team further strengthens the private equity firm’s position within sport. The company already holds investments in Spanish football’s LaLiga, as well as Premiership Rugby and the Six Nations, among others.