The cash-strapped Hyderabad franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has invited bids for its Twenty20 team in what is perceived as yet another sign of the league's diminishing sheen.
Deccan Chronicle Holdings, the owners of Deccan Chargers, issued a tender notice on Thursday putting the team up for sale after getting the nod of the Indian cricket board (BCCI) which discussed the issue in a meeting on Monday.
"Of course, they have the go-ahead from the BCCI," Ratnakar Shetty, the board's chief administrative officer, told Reuters on Friday.
The new franchisee owner will be announced on Sept. 13.
"The winning bidder will acquire... the right to own and operate the IPL team currently known as the Deccan Chargers which is and will continue to be based in Hyderabad," the tender notice said.
Indian consumer electronics maker Videocon Industries is interested in buying the franchise while the Chennai-based Sun Group is also tipped by the local media as one of the contenders.
"Yes, we are interested and will place our bids for buying out Deccan Chargers. It's a good fit for our brand and will be used to connect to our consumers," Venugopal Dhoot, chairman of the Videocon Group, told the Times of India newspaper.
Deccan Chronicle paid $107 million in 2008 to bag the franchisee for 10 years. The team finished last in the inaugural edition of the IPL but came back strongly to win the next edition in South Africa in 2009.
Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara captained the team in the 2012 edition of the cash-rich IPL, which also included South Africa paceman Dale Steyn.
Since its 2008 inception, the IPL dazzled fans and offended purists with player auctions, post-game parties and heavy advertising.
The league's celebrity franchise owners include Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, as well as spirits and airline magnate Vijay Mallya and Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.
However, a series of scandals has tarnished the league's image.
The BCCI sacked IPL Chairman Lalit Modi in 2010 following corruption charges and viewers' fatigue has prompted a dip in TV ratings.
Last year, the board terminated the contract of the Kochi franchise for payment default while DLF, India's largest real estate firm, terminated the title sponsorship of the league last month ending a five-year association.