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Experts expect a windfall in Women’s IPL bidding war

Seven men’s IPL franchises among those who have shown interest
Representational image.
Representational image.
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Indranil Majumdar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 24.01.23, 03:31 AM

Seven IPL franchises — Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Delhi Capitals, Punjab Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore — have shown interest in owning teams in the Women’s IPL by submitting their technical bids in Mumbai on Monday.

Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans will not stake a claim for a WIPL team while Lucknow Super Giants are also learnt to have stayed away. A spokesperson for LSG offered “no comments” when asked if they would submit the bid documents.

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The financial bids will need to be submitted on Wednesday when the five WIPL franchises will be made public.

The technical verification is being held earlier this time since the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wanted to avoid any complex situation similar to the one that arose during the bidding for the two new men’s IPL franchises in 2021. CVC Capital Partners successfully bid for the Ahmedabad franchise but had to wait a couple of months for the necessary clearance following their alleged links with betting companies.

It is not clear which corporate entities submitted the technical bid papers on Monday. Haldirams, Infosys, Shriram Group, Adani Group, Torrent Pharma, Chettinad Cement, JK Cement, AWL Appollo, Kotak, Capri Global are among the business houses which have bought the Invitation To Tender (ITT) document.

The key requirement for a bidder is the Rs 1000 crore audited net worth clause as of March 31, 2022. Much of the interest surrounds the Adani Group after their failure in procuring the Ahmedabad IPL franchise. It is believed that they could put in a significant bid to ensure they don’t miss out on this opportunity in WIPL’s maiden season. The Adanis already own Gulf Giants in the ILT20 in Dubai.

It was learnt that Delhi Capitals will file one bid though owners GMR and JSW Group had purchased the ITT separately.

Industry veterans are expecting around Rs 800-1000 crore per franchise when the bidding takes place on Wednesday. But surprises can’t be ruled out as was evident during the bidding for Ahmedabad and Lucknow franchises.

The WIPL is set to feature 22 games for the first three years. Should the BCCI add a sixth team, the next two editions — in 2026 and 2027 — will see 34 games played in each.

The media rights for the women’s IPL have been acquired by Reliance Groupowned Viacom18 for Rs 951 crore. The broadcaster will pay the BCCI a per-match value of Rs 7.09 crore for a five-year duration (2023-27).

In September last year, Disney-Star had retained IPL’s broadcast rights for television for Rs 23,575 crore, while Viacom18 had bagged the digital media rights for a massive Rs 23,750 crore for the Indian subcontinent.

The BCCI has also offered an 80 per cent revenue-sharing model to the WIPL teams for the first five years, compared to a 50 per cent revenue share from the IPL’s central contract revenue pool. This means the teams are assured of Rs 30 crore per year from the BCCI’s media rights.

The salary cap for the franchises will be Rs 12 crore in the first year with Rs 1.5 crore increase in each of the next four years, which will mean Rs 18 crore in 2027, the last year of the media rights cycle.

“WIPL franchises will find it tough to rake in profits for the first few years. It still needs some time to start making money. But that in no way can undermine its potential as a business model.

“Bidders are expected to take the plunge if you have a bigger time horizon in mind... Existing IPL owners will be better placed to take the risk,” someone in the know of things told The Telegraph.

The WIPL is likely to be played in Mumbai in the first year and will allow five overseas players in the playing XI. The tentative dates for the inaugural edition have been fixed for March 4 to 26.



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