Pune and Rajkot were on Tuesday selected as the new teams in the scandal-ridden Indian Premier League (IPL) for two years replacing Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, suspended on charges of spot-fixing in the cash-rich and highly popular tournament.
New Rising, a consortium led by Kolkata-based business tycoon Sanjiv Goenka, bought the Pune franchise, while mobile manufacturers Intex won the Rajkot bid, said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the game’s governing body in the country.
The ninth edition of the IPL will be played from April 9 to May 29, it was also announced on Tuesday.
The Twenty20 league, with a Rs 20,000 crore estimated brand value and boasting of Bollywood stars and major conglomerates as investors, has been dogged by corruption allegations for years.
In July, a panel set up by the Supreme Court recommended suspending the franchise owners of Chennai and Rajasthan for two years following an illegal betting and spot-fixing scandal in the 2013 edition of IPL.
The BCCI said the two new teams were selected through a reverse bidding process under which the applicants are required to bid lower than the base price of Rs 40 crore set by the IPL board.
New Rising will pay Rs 16 crore per annum to the board and Intex will shell out Rs 10 crore.
“They won’t take a single penny from us. Instead they will pay us,” BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur told reporters after an IPL governing council meeting.
The BCCI stands to gain Rs 342 crore over the next two years.
While it would save Rs 290 crore in terms of TV rights revenue it would have had to share with CSK and RR, it will collect Rs 32 crore from New Rising and Rs 20 crore from Intex, a mobile handset, consumer durables and IT accessories company started in 1996.
The new teams will, however, be paid their share of the prize-money.
The new teams will have to shell out of their pockets to build the teams, which includes a ceiling of Rs 66 crore to buy players.
A player draft will be held on December 15 when the teams can pick the top five players from CSK and RR.
Pune, as the best bidder, will get to make the first pick, and they will, in all likelihood, go for India’s limited-overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Rajkot will be happy to get local hero, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
Sanjiv Goenka is also part-owner of Indian Super League team Atletico de Kolkata.
Sourav Ganguly, an IPL governing council member, is also a part-owner of the soccer team but BCCI president Shashank Manohar denied the former India skipper was in conflict of interest.
CSK and RR are set to return to the fold after they serve their suspensions.
Led by Dhoni, the Super Kings are the most successful team in the IPL’s history, having won the tournament in 2010 and 2011 and finishing runners-up on four occasions.
Rajasthan Royals won the inaugural event in 2008 under the captaincy of Australian spin legend Shane Warne, but have failed to make the final since then.
(With agency inputs)