Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi franchise owners buy stakes in US-based Major League Cricket

Following in the footsteps of Kolkata Knight Riders, three other IPL franchises, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals have dived into the alluring Major League Cricket. All three aforementioned IPL clubs have brought stakes into the newly incepted league, which is set to commence in July 2023.

The latest development means that the six-team tournament will witness the direct involvement of four IPL franchises. While KKR, one of the earlier participants, got hold of the Los Angeles-based franchise, CSK will be based out in Texas, Mumbai Indians in New York and Delhi Capitals in Seattle.

Delhi Capitals, who are co-owned by GMR Sports Private Ltd and Jindal Sports West, will run the Seattle-based outfit with a partnership between GMR and Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella. Seattle Orcas, which was the official name given to the franchise, has also received contributions from Soma Somasegar (managing director of Madrona Ventures), Samir Bodas (co-founder and CEO, Icertis), Ashok Krishnamurthi (managing partner, GreatPoint Ventures) and Sanjay Parthasarathy (a former senior executive at Microsoft and Avalara).

The involvement of IPL teams in the MLC is a further indication of the ambition of IPL franchises to attain a global status that will give them recognition outside the subcontinent. All four participating IPL owners have already invested in foreign domestic leagues, MI (SA20 and ILT20), KKR (CPL and ILT20), DC (ILT20 and SA20) and CSK (SA20).

The local player draft will take place on March 19

Furthermore, the two remaining franchises in the competition are based out of Washington DC and San Francisco. The former, named Washington Freedom is owned by American investor Sanjay Govil and has formed an alliance with Australia’s New South Wales. The Alliance will help Washington based prepare for the inaugural edition of the tournament set to commence on July 13.

The San Francisco-based franchise, owned by Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayan, has also struck a similar arrangement with Cricket Victoria. The squad size for the inaugural edition will see each side acquire a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 18 players, with the starting eleven featuring at least six players from the USA.

The player draft for local US players is scheduled to be on March 19 at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. According to reports, the teams will be allowed separate purses for local and overseas players with USD 800,000 allocated for overseas signings and USD 300,000 for the US-based players.