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Friday, January 25, 2008

Indian Premier League (IPL) – The Billion Dollar Baby?

The Indian Premier League (IPL) can be called a “Billion Dollar Baby” that was launched by the BCCI on Sept 14th, 2007. It is based on the same lines as the English Premier League (EPL) in football and the National basketball League (NBA) in the USA. The project and idea was conceived by Lalit Modi, vice president of the BCCI and bore fruit only when the Zee group launched the Indian cricket League in April 2007.

Salient Features of The IPL: -

· The Teams in the IPL have been offered Franchisees (individuals or corporates) through a bidding process.
· The BCCI has signed up 80 international players who will be put for auction.
· The Franchisees, who will own the teams will have the freedom to run them in their own styles, bring their own sponsors and even name the team as they wish (after consulting the IPL).
· The players will be bought in an auction in the inaugural year and subsequently they will be free to trade them as is done in the various leagues around the world.
· The players also get a share in the profits, starting from TV revenue, gate money and merchandising.
· The teams can be listed on the stock exchange.
· Overall prize money - $5 million (US), winners get to take home $2 million and the remaining money is given in the form of other awards like “Man of the match” etc.
· Television rights have been already sold for over a whopping $1 billion and the franchisees have committed money close to $723 million for buying the teams.
· Top players in the teams are expected to earn a minimum of 1-2 crores per season as guarantee money. Not only this, they are also slated to get salaries on which there won’t be any cap.

Taking into account all these dynamics that are involved along with the finances, the IPL definitely promises to take on the sports world in India to a new high in a cricket-crazy nation. All IPL matches will be played under lights, and as per ICC rules with the best umpires. The League will open on April 18th, 2008 and will feature a total of 59 matches that would be spread over 44 days and the best part is that they will all be played on Saturdays and Sundays plus one yet-to-be-decided weekday. There will be two matches on each of these days and will start at 5 pm.

The players, who have been signed up so far to play for the eight teams that have been sold to corporate houses, are the likes of Glen McGrath, Shane Warne, Stephen Fleming, Sachin Tendulkar, and Sourav Ganguly etc. Sachin and Sourav will be the highest paid players in the league and will therefore not be auctioned. The bidding for the players will take place next month. The IPL governing council will be in charge of running, operating and managing the league independently of the BCCI and will have a five-year term.

The auction for the teams concluded successfully yesterday with big names like Reliance (Mumbai), Vijay Mallya (Bangalore), Shah Rukh Khan (Kolkatta) and Priety Zinta along with her boyfriend Ness Wadia (Mohali) making bids for their respective teams.

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