Pune and Kochi have been announced as the two new franchises in the Indian Premier League.
Pune was bought by Sahara Adventure Sports Group for $370 million (Dh1.3 billion) and Kochi went to Rendezvous Sports World Limited for $333m at a Chennai auction.
The two new franchises will join the IPL from 2011, taking the total number of teams to 10.
Sahara had bid similar amounts for three cities namely Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Pune and finally selected Pune as the host city for the new franchise.
The level of interest in acquiring the two new franchises can be gauged by the fact that bids were received from five prospective franchises post an Invitation to Tender, including the Adani Group and VC Digital Solution (Videocon).
"We are absolutely delighted by the overwhelming response to our global Franchise Invitation to Tender process. I am also certain that the IPL fans in Kochi and Pune would be particularly excited with an IPL franchise for their respective cities. Given the high quality of franchises that we have selected, we are certain that both the new franchises will do everything in their power to ensure good competitive teams for next year," said IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi.
"Th new ground in Kochi will go into construction soon. Until it's ready, matches will be played at another BCCI venue," Modi tweeted. "Shashi tharoor (Indian Minister of State for External Affairs) worked hard to put this together and I must congratulate him in putting this together so quickly and swiftly."
On winning the Pune franchise Abhijit Sarkar of Sahara Adventure Sports said: "The IPL is undoubtedly the most ground breaking international sports development in living memory. I can promise the people of Pune – a team they will be proud of in next year's IPL 2011."
"We have closely been following every development within the Indian Premier League right from the inaugural year. Today, I am very happy for our consortium of Rendezvous World Sport and the people Kochi as we finally have a team to call our own in this amazing city-based sports franchise," Shailendra Gaikwad of Rendezvous World Sport further added.
"It's fantastic that two new teams have come in, it will give more youngsters an opportunity to show their talent and that's only going to be good for Indian cricket," said former India captain Sunil Gavaska.
"The youngsters will not only come into national focus but international focus as well."
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