Cricket was reinvented on Thursday with Bollywood and business heavyweights investing a staggering $723.6 million to win the franchises of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Among those to grab the early tang of this heady mix are filmstars Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta and business tycoons Mukesh Ambani and Dr Vijay Mallya.
<b1>The cricket league is modelled on football’s English Premier League. City-affiliated teams will play in a glamourous Twenty20 league competition from April.
Owning an IPL team, thus, would be a status symbol. With cricket being a mass sport in India, it will also provide the brand and the individual behind the teams high visibility.
The Indian cricketers stand to gain too. The money from the franchise sales goes to the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) kitty. It will be split on a 70-30 per cent ratio between the state associations and the BCCI, and with 26 per cent of the board’s gross revenue going to the players, the IPL will positively affect their income.
With Sony and World Sport Group having already won the global media rights over 10 years with a $1.026 billion bid, the league is now worth $1.749 billion (Rs 6996 crore). The world’s top 80 players (based on ICC rankings) will be contracted as IPL cricketers.
A player auction involving Indian and international cricketers would be held on February 8. Each franchisee would be allowed to own a maximum of eight overseas players.
Franchisees have the right to decide their team names. However, they have to be associated with the city they represent.
The tournament, beginning April 18, will comprise 59 matches spread over 44 days, with two matches each on Saturdays and Sundays. All matches would be played under floodlights during television prime time and under ICC World T20 rules.
Teams would earn 80 per cent of TV revenues in the first five years and 60 per cent from the next five years. They will earn 60 per cent of sponsorship revenues in the first 10 years and 100 per cent of local revenues.
Asked if there was a conflict of interest with India Cements — whose N Srinivasan is the board’s treasurer — winning the franchise for the Chennai team, IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi said: “No, Srinivasan is just a stakeholder there, not the owner.”