JSW eyes business opportunity in IPL

Industrialist Sajjan Jindal’s JSW Group is re-looking to acquire an existing franchisee of the Indian Premier League.”We are looking at IPL as a big opportunity. There are a couple of franchises, which we know, are looking to exit. So, we are actively looking at that,” Mr Sajjan Jindal’s has revealed without divulging which are these franchises.

JSW Steel Chairman Sajjan Jindal had in 2015 said that his group was planning to acquire an IPL side. At that time, there was speculation that the group could acquire Royal Challengers Bangalore owned by Vijay Mallya. However, the US$ 11 billion steel and power conglomerate had later put on hold its plans to acquire an IPL cricket team in the wake of betting scandal hitting the star-studded cricketing league.

Parth said there is a surge in interest in IPL of late that is reflected in the recent deals, like the one signed by Chinese mobile handset maker Oppo. He further said there is also a talk of a soon-to-be sealed TV deal being signed at three times the earlier size. “The IPL will be a profit-making venture. I think all IPL teams will make money,” he said.

A share from the BCCI central revenues goes to the IPL franchisees. The expected 300% jump in the media rights fee next season will considerably increase franchisees’ revenue. This will enable the majority of franchisees who have incurred losses for the first 10 seasons to enable their balance sheets show profits.

Parth said the diversified JSW Group otherwise looks at sports initiatives from a brand-building perspective and as a commitment towards the country, but cricket will be a commercial venture. “Cricket does not need any investing, (it) has enough money already,” he said.

With Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals set for a return in 2018, there is no news yet on the player retention policy and also on how many teams will take part in the next edition of the IPL.