Lack of viewership for the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Kerala has prompted the owners of Kochi Tuskers to request the Indian cricket board to shift the team's base to Ahmedabad.
An official of the franchise told IANS that they have written to Shashank Manohar, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and the IPL Governing Council will consider their request. The letter from Kochi Tuskers was discussed at the BCCI working committee meeting in Mumbai, Monday.
"We have suffered huge losses in our inaugural season this year. And there is no viewership for cricket in Kerala. We have asked the Board to shift the team's base to Ahmedabad," said Sanchit Aggarwal, a Kochi Tuskers official.
The team was bought by a group of business houses, mostly hailing from Gujarat and Mumbai, for a whopping $333 million for a period of 10 years. Like other franchises they also struggled to break even in their first year.
The franchises' share from TV revenue was also decreased from 10 percent to eight after the addition of two new teams, Kochi Tuskers and Sahara Pune Warriors. Till last year, 80 percent of the TV rights was shared equally among the eight teams, working out to 10 percent for each team.
IPL vice-chairman Niranjan Shah, however, said that the franchise was having problems with the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) in hosting matches in Kochi.
"I think they want to shift out because they are having some problems with KCA in hosting matches. They have written to BCCI president to shift the venue. I don't think it would be big problem. The IPL governing council will take a decision in its next meeting and it has to be ratified in the AGM of the BCCI," said Shah.
Kochi and Pune franchise were earlier at loggerheads with the BCCI over the franchise fee since the number of matches were reduced to 74 from 94 as promised in the tender document.
Kochi Tuskers had main sponsors in Federal Bank, Parinee, Anchor while Lotto, Cadbury's Perk, AVT Premium, Manorama News, The Week, and Elite Foods were the co-sponsors. Parinee, Anchor and Elite, however, are owned by the promoters.