IPLTo take on Zee’s Indian Cricket League, the recently formed Indian Premier League (IPL) by BCCI is on the verge of attracting big money and for the first time introducing corporate flavour to Indian sports.

IPL is scheduled to start in April 2008 and there would be eight teams representing an Indian city playing 56 matches in T20 format. The floor price for each team is set at $50 million for a 10 – year franchise, though this figure could reach much higher levels.

Most of the bidders are for Mumbai team followed by Delhi and Bangalore as these teams are expected to have the best Indian and foreign players under its fold.

Till now 90 bidders have put in their bid, which includes name of big corporates like Vijay Mallya, Anil Ambani, Sunil Mittal, Kishore Biyani and Lord Swaraj Paul. Even film stars like Shahrukh Khan and Hollywood actor Russel Crowe have put in their bids.

Other bidders doing the rounds are football teams from English Premier League, members of the American National Basketball Association, two foreign banks with operations in India, investment bankers and a leading private Indian bank.

If the trend shows any indications, then it may mean mean big money for BCCI. But for companies bidding for the teams, it may make business sense too as cricket is nothing short of religion in India and getting hold of prime players under its fold, it could mean better brand image for the company.

Also, with India becoming T20 champions, IPL is surely bound to attract eyeballs and it could be a show of strength for corporate houses, just like what happens in English Soccer League and American Basketball Championship.

Another business motive can be the scenario when the teams can be bought and sold for profit if they perform well. In that case, each team would just be nurtured as a company with its own index of performance.