Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pune and Kochi unveiled as new IPL franchises

The financial might of the IPL was on display again, when Pune and Kochi became the league's two new franchises, being sold for a value in excess of the original eight franchises combined.

The Sahara group, the biggest patron of sports in the country, became owners of the Pune franchise after offering a staggering US$370m. Sahara, who have been sponsoring Indian cricket for the past 15 years, had bid for the same amount for three cities, but ultimately chose Pune over Ahmedabad and Nagpur. "When we considered the cities, in terms of infrastructure and logistics, Pune came first," Abhijit Sarkar, the head of Sahara's corporate communications, said. "Ït is also close to Mumbai - the commercial capital of India - and Aamby Valley (an upmarket township owned by the Sahara group)."

The other new franchisee is a consortium of five companies called Rendezvous Sports World, which bid US$333.33m for Kochi. It is a consortium with five partners - the Rendezvous group, Parini developers, Anand Shah Estate, Anchor Earth Private Limited and Film Waves. Minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor was involved in bringing the group together, but has no stake in the franchise and his role was limited to encouraging the consortium that bagged the team. "My role consisted only of encouraging and blessing the venture, and steering it to Kerala. Shailendra Gaikwad of Rendezvous World Sport said, "We have closely been following every development within the IPL, right from the inaugural year. Today, I am very happy for our consortium of Rendezvous World Sport and the people of Kochi as we finally have a team to call our own in this amazing city-based sports franchise".

There were three other qualified bidders, including Adani Enterprises and VC digital solutions Pvt Ltd (Videocon), who were in the fray to become part of the IPL.

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