New Delhi: Bids for two new teams to be added to the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament will start at $225 million (Rs1,035 crore), league chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi said on Wednesday.

Auction mode: IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi. Ashesh Shah/Mint

Although the new teams will participate in the Twenty20 tournament in its fourth season in 2011, the owners and management will be given an insider’s view of the competition in the forthcoming third season scheduled to start from 12 March, Modi said.

He also said cities that have cricket stadiums and those building them would be eligible to host the teams. The cities include Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Kanpur, Dharamsala, Indore, Cuttack, Gwalior, Visakhapatnam, Rajkot, Pune, Baroda and Kochi.

The reserve auction price of $225 million is more than four times the $50 million base price for teams that participated in the inaugural season in 2008. But this would not deter many, including the Adani Group, Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, Sahara India, Pawan Munjal of Hero Honda Motors Ltd and more recently, owners of a top UK football club, from bidding for the new team, according to industry experts.

“We are very interested in Pune and Kanpur but will first have to discuss how financially viable these places will be for us," said a senior executive of a corporate group that advertises heavily in cricket events. “The details are being worked out." He did not want himself or his company to be identified.

In a press conference in New Delhi on Monday, Hero Honda’s Munjal did not deny interest in buying a team but declined to elaborate.

Adani Group could not be reached for comments. A Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group spokesperson could not be reached despite several calls made to his cellphone.

A senior official at Abu Dhabi-based United Group Holdings of Manchester United, which experts believe is the only financially stable club to be able to buy an IPL team, denied any involvement in the tournament.

Niranjan Shah, vice-president of IPL, said no companies had yet shown overt interest in owning an IPL team, but added that the final price for the two teams could go up to as high as $300-350 million.