The Marylebone Cricket Club, custodians of the laws of the game, have pulled out of the race, as have leading Kerala film icons Mohanlal and Priyadarshan. Still, when the bids for the two new Indian Premier League (IPL) teams are opened in Mumbai, there will be no shortage of excitement.
There are two big reasons to look forward to the bidding procedure. Firstly, the addition of two new outfits will mean two more ‘home’ teams. Secondly, this will cause a huge upsurge in the valuation of teams.
The bidding organisations - or group of entrepreneurs - have to fork out at least $ US 225 million (approx Rs 1,063 crore). Compare that to the first year’s team sales, when the minimum bid price was $ US 50 million. This means, making the most crude calculation, the valuation of each existing IPL team has gone up by at least 375 per cent since inception.
In addition, when the terms of the bidding process were released, most of the “interested” parties automatically dropped out and “only serious contenders” have remained in the fray.
Though the exact number of bids submitted could not be ascertained, an insider told the Hindustan Times that it could be between four and 11.
Declining to reveal the number of bids the IPL Governing Council had received, Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi said on Saturday, “You will have to wait till tomorrow.” When it was pointed out that this would only lead to more speculation, Modi responded with his trademark wit, “We like speculation.”
While the interested parties could not be ascertained, it was confirmed that among the 11 cities made available for bidding by the IPL, Ahmedabad, Pune and Nagpur have emerged the leading contenders for the two slots. While residents of Ahmedabad will “most likely” get their home team on Sunday, it is likely to be a close call between the other two Maharashtra cities.