Pune and Kochi are the new teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The IPL will feature 10 sides from 2011.
Sahara Group, which won the bidding for Pune, Ahmedabad and Nagpur with a whopping $ 370 million for a period of 10 years here on Sunday, preferred Pune.
Rendezvous Sports World, a consortium of five companies, won Kochi with a staggering bid of $333.3 million. The franchise includes Parinee Developers, Anchor Art, and Film Waves.
Sahara, Rendezvous Sports World, Adani Enterprises, VC Digital, and Amman Vohra (a Pune based consortium) had qualified for bidding.
"The bidding was extremely competitive. And I want to thank the bidders," said a beaming Lalit Modi. The IPL commissioner added, "This shows the IPL is on an upward curve. There is no recession as far as the IPL is concerned."
The worth of IPL's two new teams is more than the eight other teams of the IPL put together. However, the share of the two new franchises from the IPL revenue pool will be the same as the other eight teams who now reap the reward for taking the early risk. Mr. Modi said, "I hope the new franchises will understand this.''
Abhijit Sarkar, head, Sahara, Corporate Communications, said Pune was chosen because of its proximity to Mumbai and the group's Aamby Valley township.
He said Sahara had been involved with cricket and sports in India for more than 15 years and was happy to be a part of the IPL. "Welcome to the family," Modi said, greeting Sahara into the fold.
Modi acknowledged Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs, had been a facilitator in getting the consortium for Kochi together.
"He is a lover of the game and was involved in trying to put together a team for his state. But I think his role ends there."
Shailendra Gaekwad, representing Rendezvous Sports Limited, said Kochi and Kerala were full of possibilities.
Since the Kerala Cricket Association is building a state-of-the-art stadium, Kochi will be offered some other home ground by the IPL till the construction concludes.
Modi said the number of foreign players in the eleven will remain at four. And he virtually ruled out further expansion in the near future. "There will be no new teams for many, many years but you never know."
He also said there would be no second edition of the IPL during a year.