Once again, it was cricket that set the trend. Following the success of a popular domestic T20 tournament, other sports — hockey, football, even kabaddi — are now taking the franchise route. And it’s time once again for Bollywood celebrities to prove that they are big sports fans (and that they have pockets deep enough to invest in them).
Hockey stick treatment
John Abraham has become the co-owner of the Delhi Waveriders team in the Hockey India League. “My vision is to see hockey in the forefront of all sports played in India once again, and soon, this vision is going to be a reality,” says John.
A kabaddi team for Mr Bachchan?
Amitabh Bachchan is apparently looking to buy a team in the Kabaddi Premier League (KPL), the auction for which starts in Patna next week. Reports say that his company, Amitabh Bachchan Corp-oration Limited (ABCL), will be among the top investors.
Khans aim for the goal
After cricket, the owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders team, Shah Rukh Khan, now plans to invest in football. Reports suggest that he is looking to bid for the Kolkata franchise of an upcoming league. Last year, SRK had said, “Earlier, I was planning to buy stakes in Dempo and, now, with the new franchise-based league coming up, I will have a look at it...I will love to have the Kolkata football club (sic).”
Another star, apparent rival Salman, too, said last year that he would love to be associated with football. When asked if he has plans to invest in a football team, he had said, “Yes, if I can afford to, I will… I have the love for sport and if it will be for sport, youth and charitable angle, I will definitely do that (sic).”
Fighting it out
Akshay Kumar and Sanjay Dutt have already invested in combat sports. Since 2009, the former has been hosting the annual Akshay Kumar Invitational Kudo (Judo and Karate) Tournament. The actor has always maintained that martial arts is his first love. Dutt, along with Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra, launched India’s first professionally organised mixed martial arts league — Super Fight League — in 2012. “In India, there is only one sport — cricket. I don’t understand why we’re obsessed with it,” Dutt had told HT Café at the time.
Cricket is still the popular sport
Shah Rukh Khan: The actor is the co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders team that won the T20 tournament in 2012. Former co-star Juhi Chawla is a partner.
Preity Zinta: She co-owns the the T20 tournament’s team, Kings XI Punjab.
Shilpa Shetty: Along with husband Raj Kundra, she owns a stake in the Rajasthan Royals IPL team.
Sohail Khan: Salman’s younger brother is the owner of a Celebrity Cricket League (CCL) team, Mumbai Heroes.