Adani Sportsline is the sports arm of the Adani Group, an Ahmedabad-based conglomerate. They have been trying to get their hands on an IPL team for a while, and now that they have, they wasted no time in picking a name: Gujarat Giants.
Adani offered more money than anyone – INR 1289 crore (US$ 158 million approx.) – at the WPL auction and will base their team out of Ahmedabad, which houses the Narendra Modi Stadium which can seat over 100,000 people.
They had bid for one of the two new men’s IPL teams in 2021 as well, when the BCCI expanded the tournament from eight to ten teams, but weren’t successful.
Gulf Giants are led by England batter James Vince and coached by former Zimbabwe captain and England coach Andy Flower. Gujarat Giants were captained by Virender Sehwag and included big-name players such as Chris Gayle, Daniel Vettori and Graeme Swann.
“The Indian women’s cricket team has been doing exceptionally well – and a cricket league for women is a significant step in creating more opportunities for women through sports,” Pranav Adani, director of Adani Enterprises, said in a statement on Wednesday after their winning bid. “Cricket is an inseparable part of the country’s fabric and Adani Sportsline was keen to begin their association with the sport with the inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League.
Adani Sportsline has also forayed into kabaddi, boxing and kho-kho all under the name Gujarat Giants with plenty of success. Their kabaddi team finished runners-up in the Pro-Kabaddi League in 2017 and 2018. Their boxing team won the inaugural Big Bout Boxing League in 2019 with some of the top boxers from India such as Amit Panghal. Their kho-kho team topped the table in the Ultimate Kho-Kho League in 2022 but lost in Qualifier 2.
Capri Global Holdings is part of Capri Loans, an India-based NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company), which spent INR 757 crore ($92.85 million approx.) on Wednesday for the cheapest women’s franchise in the WPL. They will be based out of Lucknow, which also has a fairly new cricket stadium and can host nearly 50,000 people.
Capri Global Group, which owns a number of subsidiaries, has a net worth of around INR 5400 crore ($700 million approx.) and is a listed company on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange. They were part of the auction for the two new men’s IPL teams a couple of years ago but were unsuccessful. But despite the setback, Capri continued their efforts to break into the lucrative franchise cricket space.
“Capri Global’s association with WPL has been strategic in achieving our vision of encouraging sports across all strata and genders and establishing a deeper connect with our stakeholders and customers,” Rajesh Sharma, managing director, Capri Global, said. “We believe cricket is the most natural route to further that vision given its history in India.”
Capri’s kho-kho team is called Rajasthan Warriors, which finished last among six teams in 2022. They also have a minor presence in kabaddi, as one of the sponsors of the Bengal Warriors since last October.
Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo