Fans of IPL have curious as to who is the owner of CSK. Chennai Super Kings, is one of the most successful and popular teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL), a franchise-based T20 cricket league. CSK has won the IPL title four times, in 2010, 2011, 2018, and 2021, and has reached the playoffs in every season they have played. CSK is also the first Indian sports enterprise to achieve unicorn status, with a brand value of USD 104 million.
But who is the owner of CSK team that features superstars like MS Dhoni, Ben Stokes and Ravindra Jadeja? The answer is not as simple as it may seem. CSK has undergone some changes in its ownership structure over the years for various reasons. Let us take a look at the history and current status of who is the owner of CSK.
India Cements (2008-2014)
CSK was one of the original eight teams that participated in the inaugural IPL season in 2008. The Chennai-based franchise was bought by India Cements, an Indian cement manufacturing company, for USD 91 million. India Cements was founded in 1946 and is one of the leading cement producers in the country. The company is headed by N. Srinivasan, a prominent industrialist and cricket administrator. Srinivasan has served as the chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the past.
India Cements owned and operated CSK for six seasons, from 2008 to 2014. During this period, CSK emerged as one of the most dominant teams in the IPL, winning two titles and reaching four finals. CSK also won two Champions League Twenty20 trophies, in 2010 and 2014.
However, India Cements’ ownership of CSK came under scrutiny and controversy in 2013, when a match-fixing scandal rocked the IPL. Gurunath Meiyappan, a former team official of CSK and son-in-law of Srinivasan, was arrested and later banned for life for his involvement in illegal betting and spot-fixing. The Supreme Court of India appointed a committee headed by Justice R.M. Lodha to investigate the matter and suggest reforms for the BCCI and the IPL.
Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited (2014-present)
In January 2015, the Lodha committee suspended India Cements and Jaipur IPL (the owners of Rajasthan Royals) for two years from the IPL, finding them guilty of bringing disrepute to the game2. The committee also struck down a controversial amendment to the BCCI constitution that allowed board officials to have a commercial interest in the IPL and the Champions League Twenty20. This amendment had enabled Srinivasan to own CSK while being a BCCI official.
As a result of these developments, India Cements transferred its ownership rights of CSK to a separate entity named Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited (CSKCL), which was formed on December 19, 20141. CSKCL acquired the franchise from India Cements for INR 7 crore (USD 1 million), which was later challenged by some shareholders as undervaluation. CSKCL took over all the managerial and administrative rights of the team, including its jersey and merchandise.
CSKCL is registered as a non-governmental company with N. Srinivasan as its chairman and managing director. The company has six other directors, including Srinivasan’s wife Chitra and daughter Rupa Gurunath. The company also has several shareholders, including India Cements and some associated individuals.
CSKCL has been running CSK since 2015, except for two seasons (2016 and 2017) when CSK was suspended from the IPL. In its comeback season of 2018, CSK won its third IPL title under the captaincy of MS Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming. In 2021, CSK clinched its fourth title after defeating Kolkata Knight Riders in a thrilling final.
In January 2022, CSK became India’s first unicorn sports enterprise after raising INR 5000 crore (USD 670 million) from investors at a valuation of INR 7500 crore (USD 1 billion).
CSK is one of the most successful and valuable teams in the IPL, with a loyal fan base and a strong brand identity. Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited currently owns the team. The team continues to shine as they are the verge of qualifying for the Playoffs this season and looks one of the contenders for lifting the title.
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