Kochi, July 6: There have been mixed signals over whether the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise the Kochi Tuskers Kerala will be sold. A stifled cash-flow which has resulted in a humungous loss of Rs 125 crore in it first year alone has placed a question mark over who will own the second most expensive team in the league (the team was boughht for about $333)
On the one hand, one of the owners assured the media that the team will in fact be sold shortly, while Mehul Shah of Anchor Switches, which holds the largest stake in the team, said the team is not up for sale. "We are not selling the team," he said.
According to the franchise's memorandum of understanding, the owners hold the first right of refusal if one of them wants to sell his stake. Anchor Switches and Parinee Developers are the major stakeholders in the side.
Financial woes have plagued the team ever since its inclusion in the IPL. While adequate sponsorship has not been forthcoming, operational expenses have gone through the roof. The team had to pay the BCCI Rs 150 crore towards the franchise fee, over and above which the player fees amounted to Rs 45 crore. In addition, operational costs were somewhere in the ball park of Rs 20 crore.
In return the BCCI parted with Rs 42 crore from its central sponsorship share, but in the meantime, Kochi hardly garnered any revenue from spectators, while the sponsorship money was minimal.
“That would have left the balance sheet for the first year with a loss of Rs125 crore. One more year and the losses would double. Who will take such heavy losses," said an IPL insider.