English cricketer Sam Curran has become the most expensive auction buy in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL) – after being sold to the Punjab Kings for 18.5 crore rupees ($2.22 million).
Friday’s auction, which took place in the Indian city of Kochi, saw multiple records broken – with English and Australian cricketers being the main beneficiaries.
Six franchises made a bid for the 24-year-old Curran before the Punjab Kings’ record-breaking fee.
Responding to the news, Curran tweeted: “Back to where it all started! Looking forward to it.”
He previously played for the Punjab Kings in the 2017 IPL season under the team’s former name, Kings XI Punjab.
Other big auction buys included Australian cricketer Cameron Green, who joined the Mumbai Indians franchise for 17.5 crore (approximately $2.1 million) and England men’s Test captain Ben Stokes, who was bought by the Chennai Super Kings franchise for 16.25 crore (approximately $1.95 million).
Launched in 2007, the IPL is one of the world’s most valuable sports properties – attracting the best cricketers on big-money contracts.
The tournament runs for a little over two months a year but its value to media companies has soared as the global audience has exploded.
On cost-per-match terms, it overtook the English Premier League and ranks behind only the National Football League in the United States.
It sold its media rights from this year through 2027 for $6.2 billion – split between television rights (purchased by Disney-owned Star India) and streaming rights (purchased by Viacom18, a joint venture between Paramount and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries).
The 2023 season will begin on March 20 and run through May.