Kochi: essential reading

Aditi Phadnis adds to the information on the Kochi franchise and its travails.

RSW got the first inkling that something was not quite kosher when they got a message that their bid should be below $300 million. They consulted among themselves and kept the bid at $333 million (Rs 1,533 crore). Sahara bid $370 million (Rs 1,702 crore). Videocon’s bid was $320 million, Adani bid $315 million. Theirs was the closest and they got the franchise.

The members wanted to pop the cork. Too early, cautioned their leader. Get the letter of franchise first. They met IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi in Delhi. The daughter of one of the ministers was present in the room. This was when suggestions were made that they should take $50 million and walk away.

The group was first amused, then flummoxed. “Suppose we walk,” asked one, “who is going to give us $50 million?”

An investment banker, was the laconic reply.

“Come on,” said the leader. “I am an investment banker. I know no one will pay this order of money.”

“A client of an investment banker,” they were told.

The group conferred among themselves and said prestige was involved. “We won’t go,” they said.

Union minister with a home in Bombay. Daughter standing in. How much clearer does it need to be?

28 thoughts on “Kochi: essential reading

  1. going by standards of journalism today, i have a hard time believing any of this.
    but this is all good entertainment. I was wondering what i would read after the sania-shoaib story. reading all this is so much fun!!

  2. Brilliant article: very well researched and extremely well written. The rapid pace of the article somehow reminds me of Moehringer’s book on Agassi. It all seems too murky and perhaps, as Pushkar is discovering, not worth the trouble.

  3. Tharoor gets death threats via SMS.

    What, Chotta Shakeel is not on Twitter. So very middle class.. these SMS threats..

    • it looks like the patel girl.

      from para 2 of the article:

      “…summoned to the Mumbai residence of a Union cabinet minister and told to back off from bidding for Kochi or else. “We have many ways to take care of the likes of you,” the two now-scared investors were told at the end of a conversation with the minister that began at 10 pm and went on till 4 am. They were told to go to Delhi to meet another minister from the same party, who apologised for his colleague’s conduct but repeated: “Get out of IPL. Sell the team.”

      more likely that Pawar will apologize on behalf of Patel rather than the other way round. Also for Pawar and Sule it does not deem fit to issue threats. Sule has a political career to look up to. Poorna with Modi makes sense.

  4. This is better than any IPL match. Edge of seat excitement with allegations and revelations flowing in every hour!

  5. great script… does it really matter.. pppl will be talkin abt smethin else in no time.. thts indian media n the audience for u..

  6. “..RSW was a group of sport lovers which had been doing some charity sports events, but was not well known. The stakes for bidding were high..”

    “..They approached Shashi Tharoor, who recognised the political spin-off and supported the holding of his companion, Sunanda Pushkar….”

    “..Then, RSW realised they were being edged out of the game. They pulled strings in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and got the threshold lowered to 10 per cent of the original figure..”

    Hi Prem,
    Don’t you think the story is planted?

    • Not really. That is to say, I reckon RSW realized that its side of the story wasn’t getting told, and bent a journalist’s ear with the blow by blow.

        • well Sudhir, you can read between the lines cant you?

          This is what I understand.

          1) Modi fixes everything in IPL like what happens in F1.

          2) He invites bids for 2 more franchises and has a fairly clear idea of who it will be and the venues

          3) A bunch of independent/intrepid Gujarat businessmen have other ideas

          4)Modi shuts out everybody else except chosen 2 using Financial Clause of $1 billion (fair enough)

          5) the above group is very determined and pulls in JayPee group at last min to beat $1B clause (must have been for Ahmedabad)

          6)Modi rejects the bid as being late (1st explict hint/warning to the group

          7)However Sahara(BCCI XI’s sponsor) wants in on IPL.

          8) Modi gambles that BCCI will not allow Sahara in IPL as it will mean losing their sponsorship of national team (highly unlikely that Sahara can lose money in both IPL and BCCI sponsorship simultaneously)

          9)Gamble doesn’t work. Sahara esacalates and BCCI applies Veto. This gives a second chance to Gujarat businessmen

          10) Sahara and Gujarat Gang now know exactly how much to bid.

          11) Now IPL power-brokers flex thier politcal muscle to keep Gujarat Gang out

          12) Guj gang seek political blessings from union minister in Cong, who agrees in return for the following favours a)Franchise in Kerala, so that strong popular/political case can be developed. b) sweat equity as a small token for his effort

          13) As expected Sahara and Guj Gang outbid all the others (Videocon-Pune and Adani-Ahmdbd)

          14) Modi is upset that Pune and Ahmedabad have lost out

          15) Sahara has politcal base in UP, and Kanpur makes cricketing sense, but Modi makes them see business sense and settle for Pune. They are also open to the idea of offloading equity to Modi’s preferred partners

          16) Guj Gang are bound by ST to settle for Kochin and not willing to share the loot also with Modi’s preferred partners

          17) now wait for the fun …….

  7. Cricket may be the ultimate beneficiary in this whole controversy. Everybody is hand in glove and that is the reason we see so much silence…As prem has pointed in his previous article, within the next 5 days, nobody would even be talking about this. Remember, 5 days back Maoists killed 76 people? Is there any more buzz about that?

  8. “One of them runs an industry. Another owns a broking firm and deals in precious gems. They are millionaires. But, they say, when they decided to invest in cricket, they did not think they were putting their lives in their hands. ”

    Why in the world would an Industralist and Financial analyst want to put their money in something like this (unless there weren’t doing well in the primary businesses)??? To make more money ??? Beats me.

    • I mean esp with a threat like that – “We have many ways to take care of the likes of you”, “Get out of IPL. Sell the team”.

      On a related note,

      1) Why didn’t they expose this THREAT much earlier ? What were they waiting for – Christmas, Easter, Vishu ??
      2) All they needed was to make a phone call to Arnab or Rajdeep AND they’d have gladly sent a junior journo along with a hidden camera, no???

      Why come out with all these details now ?? No evidence either.

  9. This thing gets murkier and murkier…I even heard sumwhere the Kochi franchise owners are threatened by DAWOOD and his gang…is there a match fixing angle to all this as well?

  10. I don’t see how they are going to break even with that kind of bids. Is there something else in the picture that we are not aware of?

    Prem, any idea if the existing franchises have recovered their costs?

    • No, none of them has. Yet. Beyond that, hard to tell — IPL doesn’t believe in making accounts public. “Transparency” apparently means whatever the commissioner wants it to mean, at that point in time.

      • what I meant was, there are going to be only a limited no of Franchises/Race-Venues hence prestige/premium in owning one ends-up creating the “Bigger-Fool Economy”. i.e. there is always a bigger fool who will buy it.

        Come to think of it if I was as rich as Mukesh or Laxmi Mittal, I might end-up buying one too. Is it going to be much costlier than my personal jet/private mansion?

  11. So much for the transparency and all the talk. and all gentlemen, eh? Sick b*^*%&&s ! They do all this to ruin a game that we’ve enjoyed for so many years !

      • praful patel also has a home in bombay and a daughter, if i am not mistaken (both happen to be from the same party). come to think of it only fools in this cabinet will not have a home in bombay, it may not have been declared – minor detail :).

      • “(both happen to be from the same party)”

        i meant both pawar and praful happen to be from the same party

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