CSK becomes country’s first Unicorn sports enterprise, goes past parent entity

Ahead of the 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), one of its most successful franchises, Chennai Super Kings (CSK), has become the country’s first sports Unicorn with its market cap having touched a high of Rs 7,600 crores and its share in the grey market trading in the Rs 210-225 price band.

The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK, which won its fourth IPL title in Dubai last year, now has a market cap more than its parent entity, India Cements. On Friday, India Cements’ market cap stood at Rs 6,869 crores.

Two key reasons which have led CSK’s market cap to go past its parent entity are the team winning its fourth IPL title in Dubai, and two new franchises being added to the upcoming season at record prices.

The Sanjiv Goenka-led RPSG Group bought the Lucknow franchise (Lucknow Super Giants) for Rs 7,090 crore, while CVC Capital acquired the rights for the Ahmedabad franchise for 5,625 crore.

N. Srinivasan, the managing director of India Cements and former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was quoted as saying on Friday that, “Brand CSK will outgrow Brand India Cements. If you look at the history of franchise-based leagues in the US, it will outgrow everything. Passion for cricket is so much in India. The road between countries will see franchise-based leagues getting precedence as we go along.”

The shares of Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited (CSKCL), which controls CSK, had hit an all-time high in the unlisted market on October 26 last year, surging from Rs 110-120 per share to crossing the Rs 220-mark in trade within a week. It brought CSKCL’s market cap to around Rs 7,000 crore, which was just Rs 500 crore short of making it to the Unicorn club and came just 11 days after they defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the IPL final.

Another factor that has contributed to the making of ‘Brand CSK’ is its unique fan following and the franchise building the team around it’s growing band of followers. Also, the fact that the side has hardly changed its core group in the last decade.

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