Ruturaj Gaikwad of Chennai Super Kings with the IPL trophy in front of the fans after a thrilling season 14 in the UAE
Ruturaj Gaikwad of Chennai Super Kings with the IPL trophy after the final of 14th season in the UAE on October 15. Image Credit: ANI

Dubai: Ahmedabad and Lucknow will get the two new franchises of Indian Premier League from 2022 season as the Indian cricket board has paydirt in the bidding process which was gone through in a Dubai hotel during the day.

RPSG Ventures Ltd, headed by Indian industrial baron Sanjiv Goenka, bid an astronomical INR 7.9 billion ($ 94.42 million, Dh 346.86m) to acquire the Lucknow franchise while Irelia Company Private Limited (CVC Capital Partners, the US-based equity firm with stakes in Formula One) bid INR 5.6 billion ($ 74.6 million, Dh 273.9m) for Ahmedabad, respectively.

The new franchises will participate in IPL from 2022 season onwards, subject to the bidders completing the post-bid formalities as specified in the ITT (Invitation to Tender) document. The IPL will hence get bigger with 10 teams and will have 74 matches instead of 60 now wherein each team will play seven home and seven away matches.

Speaking at the formal announcement of the two franchises, BCCI President and former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly said: The BCCI is happy to welcome two new teams from the next season of the Indian Premier League. I would like to congratulate RPSG Ventures Ltd. & Irelia Company Pte Ltd for being the successful bidders. The IPL will now go to two new cities in India viz in Lucknow and Ahmedabad.

‘‘It is heartening to see the inclusion of two new teams at such a high valuation, and it reiterates the cricketing and financial strength of our cricket ecosystem,’’ he said.

Jay Shah, BCCI secretary, said in a statement: ‘‘It is a momentous day for all of us and I formally welcome RPSG Ventures Ltd. and Irelia Company Pte Ltd. into the IPL fold. We had promised that IPL will be bigger and better from the 15th season and with Lucknow and Ahmedabad, we will take the league to different parts of India. The IPL has established gold standards for leagues across the world and remains a premium event on the sporting calendar as it has grown rapidly in a short span.

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‘‘Despite numerous challenges posed by COVID-19, the 13th and 14th seasons were completed, and the bids prove that interested parties have faith in BCCI and its hosting capabilities. I am thrilled for the people of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat as the long wait is over and they will now have their own IPL team. My best wishes to the two new teams.

Brijesh Patel, former Indian Test star and chairman of IPL who played a silent role in the seamless conduct of IPL in the UAE over past two seasons, said: ‘‘The level of interest among the interested parties prove that IPL is among the most sought-after sporting leagues in the world. We had bids from different parts of the world and from parties with diverse portfolios wanting to make a foray into the world of sports. I extend my heartiest congratulations to RPSG Ventures Ltd. and Irelia Company Pte Ltd. for securing the rights to operate the two teams. We had a wonderful 14th season and the 2022 season will see a new beginning.’’

The IPL’s first season was played in 2008 and ever since, the league has grown in stature and changed the landscape of the sport.

10-team experiment

Incidentally, the IPL’s previous experiment with 10 teams in its initial years did not meet with success - though the league has evolved over its journey and now has a robust revenue structure in place for the franchises through TV revenues and a share of BCCI profits.

In 2010, two new franchises - Pune Warriors India and Kochi Tuskers Kerala - joined the league before the fourth season in 2011 and for a brief period, the league was played by 10 teams.

However, in November 2011, Kochi Tuskers’ contract was terminated on allegations of breaching the BCCI’s terms of conditions. Pune Warriors India had withdrawn from the IPL in 2013 over financial differences with the board.