Reliance, RPSG, Sun TV, CSK, Royals Sports Group and JSW Sports, owners of six Indian Premier League franchises have now been confirmed as the successful bidders for South African T20 league. In a press release, Cricket South Africa stated that the owners of the Mumbai, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Chennai, Rajasthan and Delhi franchises from the IPL now own the South Africa T20 teams from Cape Town, Durban, Gqeberha (formerly known as Port Elizabeth), Johannesburg, Paarl and Pretoria respectively.
The open bid process, managed by Deloitte Corporate Finance, attracted over 29 bidders interested in buying a franchise. Over 10 venues were made available for interested bidders to own a franchise, six of which were finally shortlisted.
There had been prior reports of owners from the IPL looking to invest in the new league in South Africa. The confirmation of the same thrusts the game of cricket into a new era, with a strong Indian ownership footprint. The UAE T20 league already boasted five out of the six franchises with Indian owners, three of which have teams in IPL. Kolkata Knight Riders, Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals owners had already invested in the Caribbean Premier League.
Former South Africa captain and CSA chief, Graeme Smith who will take charge as commissioner of the new league echoed sentiments of excitement towards the new beginning.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Chennai Super Kings owns a franchise in South Africa T20 league pic.twitter.com/0W6rN2i23W
— Karthigaichelvan S (@karthickselvaa) July 20, 2022
Reliance Industries Limited have been a known enterprise in the sports landscape, and had already bought a franchise in the UAE T20 League, making this their third T20 franchise in three countries.
“We are excited to take the Mumbai Indians’ brand of fearless and entertaining cricket to South Africa, a nation that loves cricket as much as we do in India,” director of Reliance Industries, Nita Ambani said in recent press release.
“South Africa has a strong sporting ecosystem, and we look forward to exploring the power and potential of this collaboration. As we grow MI’s global cricketing footprint, we remain committed to spreading joy and cheer through sport!”