New Delhi:Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi did not expect Sunday's bidding to generate an amount so staggering but he assured the franchise owners that there is no reason why they cannot make profit.
Sahara (USD 370 million) and Rendezvous (USD 333.33 million) paid a total of USD 703 million -- nearly Rs 3,235 crore -- to bag the Pune and Kochi franchises respectively and the amount is bigger than the collective worth of Rs 2,840 of the original eight franchises.
"I was indeed a little bit surprised by the amount. Honestly speaking, I thought the winning bid would be USD 300-320 million. So it was USD 40-50 million higher than my expectation. The bidders must have done their numbers well," Modi said.
He, however, assured that the franchisees can make enough money out of the league.
"We are just two-year-old and every team that has been run well must be making profit. If not, they are probably marginally short of making profit," he told a TV channel.
Buttressing his case, Modi said, "Sports is one of the leading businesses of the world today. English Premier League, NFL, NBA, Spanish League, Bundesliga -- these capture the imagination of the youth and the people. Build a strong base and your future is defined.
"We already have some pluses. Across the world, the major cost is of infrastructure and players' salary. Here you get the stadium pretty much free and there is a cap on players' salary as well," Modi explained.
"Merchandising and ticketing are two other revenue sources. The ticketing revenue of all teams have gone up six-seven folds. With YouTube and Google in the picture, fan base is increasing across the world," Modi elaborated.
With 10 teams in fray, IPL, from its fourth season, will feature 94 matches and Modi felt the players can handle this much workload.
"See, you have 300 matches in IPL every season. I don't see any fatigue factor. Currently every team plays 14 matches, they will play 18 from next year. We are cutting down on the travelling. It's travelling which is the biggest issue, not playing matches," Modi justified.
The IPL mastermind said time is not far when the Twenty20 league would be seen at par with NBA or NFL.
"We are aiming to be like the NBA and NFL and the day is not far, considering how we are going," Modi said.