Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners made its first sports debut in India by successfully bidding and winning the Ahmedabad IPL franchise for a little over ₹5,600 crore, the BCCI announced on Monday. The Goenka-owned RPSG group won the Lucknow franchise by bidding for over ₹7,000 crore, the Hindustan Times reported.
BCCI held the process of identifying the two new IPL franchises in Dubai. “I would like to congratulate RPSG Ventures Ltd. & Irelia Company Pte Ltd for being the successful bidders. The IPL will now go to two new cities in India viz in Lucknow and Ahmedabad,” BCCI President Sourav Ganguly was quoted as saying in a press release. “The ITT process included two interested bidders from outside of India, which strongly emphasises the global appeal of the IPL as a sports property. The IPL is proving to be a wonderful instrument in globalising the game of cricket. I am keenly looking forward to IPL 2022,” he added.
The RPSG Group chose Lucknow as their home base with a winning bid of Rs.7,090 crore while CVC Capital opted for Ahmedabad with a bid of Rs.5,625 crore, according to reports. The franchise aspirants had the option of picking from six cities -- Cuttack, Dharamsala, Guwahati and Indore being the others. RPSG Ventures is the venture capital arm of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group.
This is the first time a large PE firm has acquired a sports team in India.
CVC Capital, globally, is bullish on sports investments. In Februrary 2020, CVC Capital partners Fund VII and The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) launched Volleyball World with a view towards tapping commercial activities around the sport related to "event hosting, fan experience, media, data/digital opportunities, and sponsorship".
In August this year, CVC Capital Partners agreed to pay about $3.2 billion to acquire a minority stake in La Liga, a Spanish football team. CVC Capital Partners also owns stakes in multiple rugby tournaments.
In India, CVC Capital owns a majority stake in Healthcare Global Enterprises Ltd and technology and legal processing business UnitedLex Corporation. CVC Capital Partners raised $4.5 billion this April for its fifth Asia-Pacific fund even as private equity fundraising in the region dropped due to the coronavirus outbreak.