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The great IPL auction

The Indian Premier League, the BCCI-backed Twenty20 tournament, continues to gather steam. The 12 cities in which the teams are to be based was revealed on Thursday, when the bids for the franchises were opened.

Mukesh Ambani won the bid for the Mumbai team of IPL, while Shah Rukh Khan would take charge of the Kolkata team of IPL. 'Investors in Cricket' won the bid for the Jaipur team of IPL, while UB Group's Vijay Mallaya bagged the Bangalore team of IPL. GMR Group won the bid for the Delhi team of IPL and Ness Wadia bagged the Chandigarh team. 'India Cements' will take over the Chennai team, while 'Deccan Chronicle' will handle the franchisee for the Hyderabad team of IPL

The auction includes player contracts and the team franchises. A very relieved and happy , M Badale, Winner of Jaipur Team said that a lot of work has to be done. He further added that they would work closely with -- Greg Chappell -- whose role would be of that of an advisor to the 20:20 franchisee.

A clutch of corporates were in the race to own a team with the tournament slated to begin on April 18.

Potential franchisees submitted bids for more than one city-team and also mentioned the state and the total fee they were offering for a franchise for the first ten-year term.

Business houses such as Reliance Industries Limited, the Videocon group, the UB group, Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan's production house -- Red Chillies, the Hyderabad-based infrastructure major GMR, real estate giant -- DLF, media group -- Deccan Chronicle, fast food chain -- Nirula's -- and London-based betting firm -- William Hill -- had participated in owning a team.

Clearly, it's a great brand equity opportunity for these corporates. The revenue streams for franchises include media rights, IPL sponsorship money, gate receipts, franchise sponsors and uniform merchandising.

The focus clearly is to design the league so as to maximise the value of the team owners.

The base price for owning a team for ten years is US$50 million, but the intense competition and the fact that a large chunk of revenues from IPL's lucrative media deal with Sony Entertainment and WSG will accrue to franchisees, saw much higher bids than the base price.

Twelve cities satisfy the BCCI's eligibility criteria for hosting a franchise, but the IPL is to initially have only eight teams.

What's more, the league is not only to be restricted to India - plans are in the pipeline for an international version of the Premier League.

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