Punjab Kings’ Mohit Burman keen on picking up franchise in women’s IPL


The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) invited bids for media rights for a five-year period ending in 2027 earlier this month. Once the media rights are sold, BCCI will auction the teams.

“We would like to bid for a women’s IPL team as it is a BCCI-led initiative. All our cricketing investments will be made through KPH and the existing Punjab Kings brand,” Burman said in an interview earlier this week.

Burman owns around 48% of KPH Dream Cricket Pvt. Ltd, the owner of the Punjab Kings cricket team. Other promoters include Karan Paul, actress Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia. In 2020, KPH purchased a Caribbean Premier League team St Lucia Zouks for $4 million for 13 years, according to a 4 January Care Ratings report.

The women’s IPL is set to be a five-team tournament for its first three seasons, featuring 22 matches. In subsequent seasons, an additional team will join the league, bringing the total number of matches to 33.

Burman, who is also chairman of Dabur India Ltd, said that the women’s IPL holds potential. His interest in the tournament could also encourage the others to consider investing.

“We are not sure of the base price. The quantum of money required to acquire a team will be clear once the media rights are in place,” Burman said, adding that selling the media rights first was the right thing to do. “That way, all the bidders can get some visibility on what they’ll get back,” Burman added.

People familiar with the development said, requesting anonymity, that BCCI expects potential bids of more than 400 crore per franchise.

Burman said while it took Punjab Kings seven years to break even, the recent media rights auctions have helped ease cashflows. “We’ve been in this business for 14 years. In the beginning, it took a couple of years for people to believe in the product. And central revenues, which is the main part of the revenue stream, only kicked in after the 10th year when it went up again. After the 10th year, all the teams started to make money because the media rights went up quite a bit. Now with the new media rights going, I think every team is making money,” he said.

The Twenty20 cricket league generates revenue by selling media rights, sponsorship deals and ticket sales. Some of the league’s revenue such as those from media rights is then distributed among the participating teams.

For the initial 10 years, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) was the rights holder of the league, for which it paid around 9,200 crore. The value more than tripled to 16,348 crore for the next five-year cycle when Star India (now Disney Star) picked up the rights.

Recently, the rights value of the IPL once again tripled to 48,390 crore for the 2023-27 cycle after Disney Star retained IPL TV rights for 23,575 crore, while digital rights were picked up by Viacom18 for 23,758 crore.

Burman ruled out any immediate plan to go public or sell a stake in the franchise to investors. “It’s often that you get into conversations with different bankers on ways to monetize the assets. Of course, we get a lot of private equity interest. There were discussions on whether an IPO was possible, but there’s been no decision taken by the board or the shareholders,” he said.

Burman said that the current cash flow is such that previous “losses are wiped out, and there is a dividend payout every year; so as of now, we’re not planning to monetize it,” he added.

The franchise wants to see how this season goes before doing something. KPH’s operating revenue rose to 234.93 crore in FY21 from 214.84 crore in the previous year. Net profit, however, narrowed to 48 crore in FY21 from 60 crore the previous year.

In 2022, IPL team valuations shot up across the board after Sanjeev Goenka-owned RPSG Ventures agreed to pay 7,090 crore over 10 years for the Lucknow IPL team. Similarly, CVC Capital agreed to pay 5,625 crore (over 10 years) for the team Gujarat Titans.

In contrast, the four owners of Kings Punjab paid around 308 crore to acquire the rights of Punjab Kings in 2008 for 10 years. Since 2018, the franchise owners have been paying 20% of the annual revenues to the BCCI as licence fee.

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