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Delhi Capitals in 'advanced talks' to buy stakes in English county team Hampshire: Report

The Delhi Capitals, a franchise in the Indian Premier League, is reportedly in advanced discussions to acquire ownership stakes in the Hampshire county cricket side, signaling a potential move into English cricket.

Delhi Capitals in 'advanced talks' to buy stakes in English county team Hampshire report snt
First Published Jan 11, 2024, 11:50 AM IST

In a surprising turn of events, the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Delhi Capitals is reportedly engaged in "advanced talks" to acquire ownership of Hampshire County Cricket Club. This move has raised speculation about the franchise's interest in making a mark in English cricket. The potential deal involves former Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove, who is nearing an agreement to sell the majority of the county team to the GMR Group, co-owners of the Delhi Capitals.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Bransgrove, who still holds the majority of the shares in Hampshire, is on the verge of finalizing the sale to GMR Group. If completed, this transaction would make Hampshire the first county team to be owned by an overseas franchise. The report suggests that GMR's interest in purchasing a county side could be a strategic move to gain a foothold in English cricket.

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"Hampshire County Cricket Club’s majority shareholder is in advanced talks to sell his stake to the part-owners of Indian Premier League team Delhi Capitals," the report said.

The agreement between Hampshire and the Delhi Capitals could mark a significant development in the cricketing landscape. With the possibility of a foreign franchise owning a county team, this move could set a precedent for further international investment in English cricket.

The report also highlights the potential benefits for the Delhi Capitals, citing a "first-mover advantage." This strategic move could allow the IPL franchise to develop its own players, leveraging the increasing popularity of The Hundred franchise event in England. The Hundred's format, designed to attract a wider audience, could offer a platform for player development and exposure.

Simultaneously, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is reportedly exploring the idea of opening up 50% ownership stakes in certain teams participating in The Hundred. This shift in ownership dynamics opens up discussions about host counties having the option to sell their shares. The changing landscape could lead to more diverse ownership structures within English cricket.

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As negotiations between Hampshire County Cricket Club and the Delhi Capitals progress, the potential acquisition marks an intriguing chapter in the sport's globalization. If successful, this deal could pave the way for increased international involvement in English cricket and usher in a new era of ownership structures. The cricketing community will be closely watching these developments as they unfold, anticipating the impact on both the county and franchise cricket landscapes.

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