County confirms speculation of potential takeover

By Connor Steel

HAMPSHIRE CRICKET have confirmed that they are in “detailed negotiations” about reported new investment into the county from an Indian Premier League (IPL) group; thus opening the doors for a potential club takeover and the end of Rod Bransgove’s long tenure as the majority shareholder after a highly successful period within the team’s long history.

Mr Bransgove was elected as chairman back in 2000 and is widely credited with saving the club from insolvency before being instrumental in securing the signature of Australian ‘legend’ Shane Warne later in that year. The county have won four List A and three Vitality Blast trophies since, whilst also maintaining a sustained First Class title bid in recent years.

Stadium improvements have further led to the Ageas Bowl being permitted to host international cricket games; its hotel facilities used to host multiple England test matches in 2020 as cricket returned after harsh ‘lockdown’ restrictions. The ground then featured the World Test Championship final in June 2021 that saw New Zealand thrash India by 8 wickets.

The county are scheduled to host their first ever Ashes test match in 2027 between England and Australia (men), which will signal another milestone for the Ageas Bowl since it was opened at the start of the century. It will further host action from the Hundred for the foreseeable future through “Southern Brave”; who won the inaugural competition during 2021.

Although Mr Bransgrove stepped down as chairman in 2022 he remains the majority shareholder and the club’s recent success has seen interest from ‘GMR’, who part-own Delhi Capitals in India. Under their leadership the franchise have slowly improved their status and have signed multiple big names for the side, including Harry Brook and Rishabh Pant.

It is understood that a deal is not close but talks have taken place with GMR and the other interested parties, with more planned in the near future. No IPL team have ever directly ‘owned’ an English club despite Hampshire’s past marketing alliance with Rajasthan Royals approximately 14 years ago but the promising deal was sadly proved to be “short lived”.

Hampshire’s statement stated that the club have  “made no secret of the fact that it has been investigating a number of investment options for some time now” and have “engaged with a number of parties under conditions of confidentiality”. The club will make “no further comments about the status of our negotiations”, until anything does materialise in future.

Readers can read the full statement here on the BBC Sport website and are encouraged to keep updated with any new changes in the future. Hampshire’s 2024 season is due to start in April and fixtures can be viewed online using this link.

PICTURED BY ALAMY (2NTC49C): General view of Ageas Bowl landscape taken at World Cup tie back in June 2019.