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Bankers, PE funds join IPL bidding

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

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

Potential franchisees can submit bids for more than one city-team and must state the total fee they are 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 are reported to be interested 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, is likely to see 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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