IPL team owner in advanced talk to buy English club
Advanced negotiations are underway for the majority shareholder of Hampshire County Cricket Club, Rod Bransgrove to sell his stake to the co-owners of an Indian Premier League team. Sources from Telegraph Sport reveal that an agreement between Bransgrove and Delhi Capitals part owners GMR Group is in the final stages.
Having served as chairman for 23 years, Bransgrove stepped down from his position at the end of the previous year but retains over 60% ownership of the club. If the deal materializes, it would mark a significant milestone, making Hampshire the first county cricket club to be owned by an overseas franchise.
Industry insiders speculate that GMR's interest in acquiring a county team lies in securing a foothold in English cricket, fostering the development of their players and gaining a "first-mover advantage" for potential investments when The Hundred franchises become available. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is reportedly considering options that include offering a 50% share in The Hundred teams.
Hampshire has previously been associated with another IPL franchise
GMR Group already boasts a diverse portfolio of cricket teams worldwide, with a 50% stake in Delhi Capitals in both the IPL and Women’s Premier League, alongside JSW Group. Their ownership extends to Dubai Capitals in the UAE’s ILT20 and a share in Seattle Orcas in the USA’s Major League Cricket. In South Africa’s SA20, JSW owns Pretoria Capitals, another subsidiary of the Delhi franchise.
The impending opening of the Hundred to private investment later this year appears likely, attracting attention from IPL franchises, including the Delhi Capitals. Notably, this is not Hampshire's first association with an IPL team, as they previously had a partnership with the Rajasthan Royals between 2010 and 2013. During this period, Hampshire played T20 cricket as Hampshire Royals before rebranding as Hampshire Hawks.
The Rajasthan Royals are owned by Manoj Badale, a British-Indian businessman who considered purchasing Yorkshire last year and had previously been involved in the commercial operations of Leicestershire through his company Investors In Cricket in the 2000s, just before the transformative year of 2008 when the IPL reshaped the cricket landscape.