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DUBAI : The Indian Premier League (IPL) got two new teams on Monday for a staggering total of 12,715 crore, more than threefold the base prize ( 2,000 crore per team) set when bids were invited.

The RP Sanjeev Goenka Group (RPSG) made the highest bid of 7,090 crore and chose Lucknow to be their home base. Singapore private equity firm Irelia Co. Pte Ltd, whose parent company is CVC Capital Partners, was the other successful bidder, with a bid of 5,625 crore. It chose Ahmedabad as its home city.

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Both teams will make their IPL debuts in 2022.

While RPSG previously ran the IPL team Rising Pune Supergiant — the company had a two-year contract for 2016-17 to fill in for two suspended teams—CVC Capital owned Formula One before selling it in 2016 and has major investments in European rugby as well as Spain’s top tier football league, La Liga.

The winners were announced after a seven-hour bidding process held at a luxury hotel across the Burj Khalifa in Dubai on Monday. Twenty interested parties collected bid documents, of which nine submitted eligible bids.

The RPSG and CVC bids beat Adani Sportsline Pvt. Ltd, Amrut Lila Pvt. Ltd, Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd (a unit of HT Media Ltd, which publishes Mint and Hindustan Times), Avashya Corp. Ltd, Championship Cricket LLC, Capri Global, and Torrent Sports. All nine bidders fulfilled the eligibility criteria of having an average revenue of 3,000 crore and net worth over 2,500 crore.

“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," Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah said.

To get a sense of how big a lift in value these numbers are, Rajasthan Royals, the most valuable team before these new bids, is known to be worth 1,850 crore after adding a new investor—US-based RedBird Capital Partners—three months ago. Sunrisers Hyderabad paid 850 crore to join the IPL for five years in 2012.

The auction had an added attraction—the Glazer group, the US-based owners of English Premiership giants Manchester United and NFL side Tempa Bay Buccaneers, also made a bid through their company Championship Cricket.

It was seen as an opportunity to give the cash-rich cricket league a global appeal and a window to the American market. But the Glazers’ bid fell short. “The ITT (invitation to tender) process included two interested bidders from outside India, which strongly emphasises the global appeal of IPL as a sports property," BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said.

There was a sense of amazement around the numbers in the bidding room when the winners were announced. But one of the winning bidders said nothing ceases to amaze in IPL.

“If you look at the other numbers on the table, they were all upwards of 4,000 crore. We look at it as an opportunity to own a very successful cricket property in a market like India for perpetuity," an official from one of the two winning bidders said on condition of anonymity.

While the RPSG group will make the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Stadium in Lucknow their home base, CVC Capital will play their home matches at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad.

One of the disadvantages for the RPSG when they owned the Pune franchise in 2016-17 was having to build their team only from the suspended players of Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings. This time, the two new teams have been promised a couple of bonus player picks and then the mega auction pool to choose from.

The mega auction will be held ahead of IPL’s 2022 season, but it is not known what the auction structure will be. In the previous mega auction, each team was allowed to hold on to five of their players. However, with the addition of two new teams, it is expected that the original teams will not get the luxury of keeping those many players.

The tenders for the next round of IPL media rights are expected to be announced soon, and officials expect that the successful expansion will only boost that process.

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