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‘Buying WPL team makes perfect business sense’

New Delhi: For Delhi Capitals, a franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the decision to invest 810 crore in the upcoming Women’s Premier League (WPL) was a business decision and not driven by emotions, a top executive said.

The investment by the franchise, jointly owned by the GMR Group and the JSW Group, is a recognition of the growth potential of women’s cricket, said Divyanshu Singh, chief operating officer at JSW Sports.

“When the opportunity came to us to buy a franchise, to a large extent, we could see that our women players had been performing well internationally, but it had to be an important business decision as well for us to invest in the team,” said Singh. “Given our experience in the IPL and its economics, it made a lot of sense for us to invest in this franchise. I think there is also a very strong sentiment in women’s cricket right now.”

The franchise expects owning the WPL team will also expand its engagement with the fans beyond just 3-4 months around IPL.

“This will enable us to be active throughout the year. That’s the one challenge that all the IPL teams have wanted to solve for some time,” he added.

From a commercial perspective, Delhi Capitals has signed sponsorships worth 15 crore, nearly closing all spots on the team jersey. “We have signed multinational companies across the food, consumer durable brands, consumer care segment, women’s wear apparel, saree brands and a fantasy gaming company,” Singh said.

As many sporting leagues are seeing ed-tech startups staying away or withdrawing from sponsorships, the Delhi franchise has also remained away from them. “It is only startups or brands who want to achieve certain traction in their growth cycle that are now keenly advertising,” he added.

In January, Reliance Industries-owned Viacom18 picked up the media rights for the WPL for 951 crore for five years. The broadcaster is going to pay a per-match value of 7.09 crore during 2023-27. A lot of money is also riding on the teams.

In its team auction, which was held last month, a record 4,670 crore was paid by companies to own the five franchises for the league. Other team owners include the Adani Group, Reliance Industries, Diageo India, and Indian NBFC company Capri Global.

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