Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in buying a multi-billion-dollar stake in the Indian Premier League, international cricket’s most lucrative event, following a string of investments that have upended professional sports including football and golf.
Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s advisers have sounded out Indian government officials about moving the IPL into a holding company valued at as much as $30 billion, in which Saudi Arabia would then take a significant stake, people familiar with the matter said. The talks were held when the kingdom’s defacto ruler visited India in September, the people said.
Under plans discussed at the time, the kingdom proposed investing as much as $5 billion into the league and help lead an expansion into other countries, similar to the English Premier League or the European Champions League, the people said.
While the Saudi government is keen to press on with a deal, the Indian government and the country’s cricket regulator - BCCI - are likely to take a call on the proposal after next year’s general elections, the people said.