The high-profile bidding for the two new teams in the Indian Premier League in Mumbai on Sunday turned out to be a damp squib.
Despite all the hype, only three interested parties came forward to take part in the bidding, out of which one was disqualified for submitting its bid late.
At the end of it, one was left with many questions: Has the IPL bubble has burst? Has recession forced corporate houses to have a re-look at their investment vis-a-vis a proposition like IPL, which is slowly sliding down the ratings since its success in the inaugural season in 2008?
And, not surprisingly, seeing the low key response, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi was quick to announce that all current bids are cancelled, fresh tenders will be issued on March 9, and new teams announced on March 21 in Chennai.
The Bollywood quotient made its presence yet again, as Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, along with her mother Babita, arrived at the venue. The film stars, having formed a consortium with Videocon-owner Anirudh Dhooth and Panchshil Group from Pune, bid for the Pune franchise.
Adani Enterprises, bidding for the Ahmedabad franchise, was the other major bidder and went for an individual bid.
J P Group was the third bidder, but its bid was not considered since it was submitted late on Saturday.
Modi pointed that one of the clauses that might have put off potential bidders was that the bidding company had to have a net worth of $1 billion. He said it has been take off from the new tender forms.
"The relaxation was done because we received letters from many companies who expressed interest and wanted to bid but said that the $1 billion criteria was not there in the first tender. The current owners of the teams don't have the criteria so why are we now putting that criteria for the new teams.
"Many more teams wanted to bid so we wanted to give them an opportunity to bid for the new teams," he said.
Previously, the bidders also had to submit $100 million bank guarantee to participate in the bidding process which has now been reduced to $5 million.
Also, the clause that the governing council at its discretion can or may require the winning bidder to submit 100 percent of the bid amount has been amended. The new condition is that a $10 million advance performance deposit must be submitted 24 hours, that is by 20th March. The bidders must be ready to give 10 percent of the amount that they bid within 48 hours post being awarded the franchise.
Asked whether they were disappointed by the IPL governing council's decision to put off the bid, Atul Chordia, Chairman and CEO, Panchshil Group, replied: "It is not the question of happiness about the previous terms. Whatever terms and conditions were there we abided by it; whatever the tender form asked for we gave it, we tendered. We gave the 100 million dollar bank guarantee; we formed a very good consortium with Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Karishma Kapoor, Panchshil Group from Pune and Mr Dhoot from Videocon."
But the group, though a bit disappointed, insisted it will be taking part in the next auction.
"Of course, we will bid again. We were bidding for the Pune franchise," Chordia said.