Franchise News India : Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan has followed superstar Shah Rukh Khan by investing in sports after he is reported to have bought a pro kabaddi franchise.
While, SRK co-owns the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, the junior Bachchan has invested in the Jaipur franchise of the IPL-style professional kabaddi league that is scheduled to be held in eight venues across India in July and August this year.
Abhishek’s interest in the league was confirmed by the Pro Kabaddi League officials, according to whom the actor would make an official announcement later this month. “It is nice to know that Bollywood’s first family has embraced kabaddi. Abhishek always wanted to invest in sports. Obviously, he liked the idea of professional kabaddi and was keen on Jaipur,” officials are quoted as saying by the Times of India.
India’s first professional kabaddi league, in which some well-known entrepreneurs have interest as team owners, was launched on Friday with much fanfare at NSCI Sardar Vallabhai Patel Stadium in Worli, Mumbai.
The pro kabaddi, is a joint initiative of industrialist Anand Mahindra and sports commentator Charu Sharma through their firm Mashal Sports, and would feature eight city-based franchises who would play on a home and away basis in Mumbai, Kolkata, Patna, Jaipur, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi.
The league has the backing of the International Kabaddi Federation, Asian Kabaddi Federation and Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India.
Abhishek is set to join the likes of Ronnie Screwala, Rajesh Shah (Mukand Group), Kishore Biyani, Uday Kotak (Kotak Bank), GMR, Murugappa Group and others who have already pledged support to the league as team owners.
The annual investment by an owner has been fixed around Rs 5 crore, including Rs 1-1.5 crore for franchise rights. Where most city franchises have either been bought or have interested the buyers, there seem to be no takers for the Bangalore-based side, according to Charu Sharma, MD of Mashal Sports, the tournament promoters.
“I am surprised that despite the interest kabaddi generates in Karnataka there have hardly been any enquiries. Some of them that we went to did not impress us. There are a few balls in the air but I am not sure whether when we will get the right buyer,” Sharma said.
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