IPL franchise owners purchase all six teams in South Africa’s upcoming new T20 League

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IPL franchise owners of teams like Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Lucknow Super Giants, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals and co-owners of Delhi Capitals on Wednesday were announced as winners of purchasing all six teams in South Africa’s upcoming new T20 League.

Through an official statement, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said that the six franchise owners were confirmed following a rigorous process over the past few months. The open bid process, managed by Deloitte Corporate Finance, attracted over 29 entities who expressed interest in owning a franchise worldwide.

Over 10 venues were made available for interested bidders to own a franchise and all 10 of them received expressions of interest.

Reliance Industries Limited, owners of Mumbai Indians, will operate the Cape Town team based at Newlands while RPSG Sports Private Limited, owners of Lucknow Super Giants, bought the Durban franchise based at Kingsmead.

Sun TV Network Limited, owners of Sunrisers Hyderabad, picked Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) franchise with home venue at St George’s Park while Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited, owners of Chennai Super Kings, acquired the Johannesburg franchise with base at Wanderers.

Royals Sports Group, owners of Rajasthan Royals, bought the Paarl franchise based at Boland Park while JSW Sports, co-owners of Delhi Capitals, bought the Pretoria franchise based at SuperSport Park.

Graeme Smith, the Commissioner of the new T20 League in South Africa, welcomed all the new franchise owners of the league. “We are thrilled to welcome our new franchise owners to the South African League taking place in January and February 2023. This is truly an exciting time for South African cricket; the overwhelming interest shows that the country remains valued in the global cricketing eco-system.

“A robust bidding process was followed to select the final six owners, the decision was informed by a scorecard based on various criteria to ensure the utmost professionalism, independence, and objectivity to the process. I would like to thank Deloitte as our advisors for doing a thoroughly professional job in helping South African cricket find partners who add substantial value to our game.

“The strong sports background of the respective owners and the global brands they manage ensures that South African cricket and the broader industry will benefit from their expertise and resources, as they bring stability and experience to the League.”

The move means that the global expansion of the IPL franchises is moving at a fast pace. Fans in South Africa will have the opportunity to watch word-class cricketers, catch a glimpse of the next generation and experience the action first-hand when the festival takes off early next year.

Smith concluded by hinting at announcing the international players of the new T20 League in near future. “We have already contracted a number of leading international players who will be announced shortly. Combined with our strong South African player base, fans and stakeholders can be assured that the new League will showcase exciting talent and skill.”

The upcoming T20 League, which CSA will organise in association with broadcasters SuperSport in the form of a new company, will be the third time South Africa would be attempting to launch a franchise T20 league in the country.

In its previous attempts, the attempt to start Global League T20 failed to happen in 2017, while its replacement, the Mzansi Super League was held in 2018 and 2019 but didn’t get the big broadcast rights, with the free-to-air South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) getting broadcast rights for a much smaller sum, before being halted by Covid-19 pandemic.

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