Two New Franchises in IPL 2022

Sanjiv Goenka RPSG

The recent team Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions proved fruitful for BCCI as they sold two new franchises – Lucknow and Ahmedabad – for more than USD 1.6 billion.

This makes IPL a 10-team event now, though not for the first time, as there were 10 teams in the competition during the 2011 campaign. Let’s take a look at how the teams were purchased and how this will affect the IPL as we know it.

The New Teams and Owners

A total of 22 companies are said to have bought tenders for the bidding process, but only nine of them were present for the walk-in bid process in Dubai on Monday 25th October 2021.

The Lucknow franchise went to the RPSG (RP Sanjiv Goenka) group for INR 7090 Crore i.e., USD 940 million approximately.

INR 7090 Crore was by far the largest bid in the auction for Lucknow with the next bid about INR 1900 Crore lesser. The RPSG group is not new to IPL and had held the Pune Franchise for two seasons in 2016 and 2017. They were runners up in the IPL 2017 finals after conceding a heartbreaking loss by 1 run to Mumbai Indians.

They are in for a bigger game now and would play their home matches at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow with a seating capacity of about 50 thousand.

The Ahmedabad franchise went to the CVC Capital Partners who bid the second-highest amount of INR 5625 Crore which amounts to USD 750 million approximately. They were slightly ahead of Adani Group who bid INR 5100 Crore for both Lucknow and Ahmedabad bid.

The CVC capitals must be happy to get hold of a franchise with the biggest home ground in the world which is Narendra Modi Cricket stadium that has a seating capacity of more than 1.3 Lakh (130 thousand).

CVC are new to IPL but not to the sport. They have a decade’s experience in Formula 1 and also in Rugby and LaLiga – the Spanish Football League.

One can get the measure of how high the bids were if we look at the base price set for the bidding process by BCCI which was INR 2000 Crore. It effectively means that the Lucknow franchise was sold for 250% more than the base price and the Ahmedabad franchise was sold for 160% more than the base price.

IPL Format Change

The addition of two teams will mean that the IPL will be played among 10 teams divided into two groups starting from IPL 2022. BCCI would revert to the format they had used in the IPL 2011 when 10 teams appeared for the first time in the IPL.

Each team playing every other team twice would have inflated the number of games. The group format will ensure each team still plays 14 matches each while keeping the overall number of matches to 74 including the playoffs.

As per the new format, a team will play twice against the other 4 teams in the same group home and away. They will also play against the 4 teams in the other group once and will also play twice against any one of the teams in the other group.

This makes it 14 matches per team with 70 league matches overall followed by 4 playoff matches. Thus, the IPL will move from a 60-match season to a 74-match season.

Squads and Players

As has been the case with the addition of new teams, the newly formed Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises will get to choose the same number of players in the squad via a draft system before the mega player auctions happen ahead of IPL 2022. The existing franchises may lose the “right to match” card during the player auctions.

The new team additions make the IPL an even more interesting league and breathe fresh air into the world’s biggest T20 League.