Companies pick up teams in global T20 leagues as IPL footprint grows


Mukesh Ambani-led and India Cements-backed Cricket Ltd on Wednesday said they were buying a franchise each in Cricket South Africa’s new T20 League, as Indian Premier League-style tournaments attract the attention of Indian firms.

This is the second instance in two months that Indian groups have acquired teams in an international T20 league, after conglomerates such as the Adani group, Reliance, GMR, Capri Global and the Knight Riders Group, which operates the in the IPL, picked up franchises in the UAE-based International League T20.

Both leagues will commence early next year, giving enough time for the Indian owners to prepare their teams for the respective tournaments, sector experts said.

Based in Cape Town, Reliance’s new franchise will take forward the Mumbai Indians brand, the company said in a statement. While Cricket will have its base in Johannesburg. The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, known as the Bullring, will be the home ground of the franchise.

Cricket South Africa on Wednesday said that apart from and Cricket, there were owners from four other teams who had successfully bid for franchises in the new Twenty20 tournament. It did not specify the names.

Also Read: Chennai Super Kings gets Wanderers team in South African T20 league

However, it is reliably learnt that Lucknow Super Giants owners RP-Sanjiv Goenka group, Sunrisers Hyderabad owners Sun TV Network, Rajasthan Royals owners Royals Sports Group and Delhi Capitals co-owners JSW Sports have bid for the Durban, Gqeberha, Paarl and Pretoria franchises each.

A formal announcement on the same is expected shortly by the respective groups, persons in the know said.

“We have been evaluating new opportunities across the globe over the past few years. We felt this T20 league in South Africa will be highly competitive and it is a great opportunity for us to give back to the sport. It would also help us to spot new talent,” said K S Viswanathan, chief executive officer of Chennai Super Kings.

“South Africa has a strong sporting ecosystem, and we look forward to exploring the power and potential of this collaboration,” Nita Ambani, director, Reliance Industries, said.

The interest in IPL-style T20 tournaments globally by Indian comes as the Indian property grows from strength-to-strength, prompting a wider embrace by international cricket boards.

Amongst the most-valued sporting properties in the world at $4.5 billion, according to Brand Finance, the recently concluded (IPL) e-auction has only reinforced its position, sector experts said.

The value of the media rights (at Rs 48,390 crore for 2023-27) crossed the previous rights value (Rs 16,347.50 crore for 2018-22) by nearly three times, pushing the as the second most valued sporting league in terms of per-match value. Disney-Star, Reliance-backed Viacom18 and Times Internet emerged winners in the e-auction.

Among IPL franchise owners, Red Chillies Entertainment, the owners of Kolkata Knight Riders, were the first to buy an overseas T20 franchise – the Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League, a few years ago.

In 2020, KPH Dream Cricket Private Limited, the consortium that owns Punjab Kings, bought the St Lucia Kings. And last year, the owners of Rajasthan Royals – the Royals Sports Group – bought the Barbados team in the Carribbean Premier League.

The Knight Riders brand also has a presence in the USA, where it is among the founding members of Major League Cricket, a franchise-based T20 League scheduled to be launched next year.

Fresh Guard

  • (Cape Town) and Chennai Super Kings Cricket Ltd (Johannesburg) have bought franchises

  • Twice in 2 months that Indian firms have bought teams in global T20 leagues; both UAE and SA leagues to begin next yr

  • Cricket South Africa said 4 other IPL teams had bid successfully for franchises in the new T20 league

  • Owners of Lucknow, Hyderabad, Rajasthan and Delhi IPL franchises are learnt to have bid for the Durban, Gqeberha, Paarl & Pretoria teams


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