IMG, one of the top global sports management firms will continue plying its services for the Indian Premier League, as they won the bid to be retained as events rights holders of India’s premier T20 tournament.

The UK-based firm, which has been a key part of the IPL since its inception in 2008, left behind three other bidders in the race to hold on to the contract which they had first signed a decade ago at a value of Rs 27 crore per year for a period of 10 years.

IMG is linked with the league since its inaugural season in 2008

The bids were opened in Delhi on Friday (July 14) with IMG retaining the rights for the next five years. The sports management firms have been primarily involved in areas such as formulating the franchise bidding, player contracts and auctions, the media rights issues, the broadcast rights and especially the day-to-day running of the league since the last 10 years. An official announcement of the deal is expected to be made public by the BCCI on Saturday.

Meanwhile, one of the interesting bidders of the rights were Rhiti Sports, the firm which is owned by Arun Pandey, the long-standing friend-cum manager of former India skipper MS Dhoni. The other two bidders were Wizcraft, an event-management company that specialises in Bollywood and Group of 4, a firm company with logistical expertise.

According to a report in The Mumbai Mirror, Rhiti Sports’ bid took many by surprise even some who are linked with the BCCI. However, given Rhiti Sports’ track record, one cannot undermine their credentials. The firm has been associated with a few teams in different leagues, including Chennai Super Kings, in marketing their properties. And while the firm is run by Dhoni’s manager, many feel that the Indian star also has a stake in it.

However, the BCCI officials made it clear that the 35-year old’s name was not there in the ownership structure that Rhiti Sports submitted to the BCCI.

Rhiti Sports is owned by Dhoni’s manager Arun Pandey

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