Abhishek Bachchan set to invest in kabaddi league

Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan is following the footsteps of Shah Rukh Khan, but in kabaddi.

Similar to SRK who is the co-owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL, Abhishek has invested in the Jaipur franchise of the IPL version of the Kabaddi League scheduled to be held in eight centres across the country between July and August this year.

Reports in the media said, Abhishek’s interest in the league was confirmed by the Pro Kabaddi League officials. According to the officials, the actor will 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 were quoted as saying by a leading daily.

India's first professional kabaddi league, where a number of well-known entrepreneurs have shown interest as team owners, was launched on Friday in an event at NSCI Sardar Vallabhai Patel Stadium in Worli, Mumbai.

The Pro-Kabaddi is a joint endeavor taken up by industrialist Anand Mahindra and sports commentator Charu Sharma through their firm Mashal Sports. It will have eight city-based franchises who will play on a home and away basis in Mumbai, Kolkata, Patna, Jaipur, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi.

The league also has the support of the International Kabaddi Federation, Asian Kabaddi Federation and Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India.

According to reports, Abhishek is ready to join the likes of Ronnie Screwvala, 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.

Reports in the media said according to Charu Sharma, MD of Mashal Sports, the tournament promoter, the annual investment by an owner was fixed at around Rs 5 crore, including Rs 1-1.5 crore for franchise rights. Where most city franchises have either been bought or have interested buyers, there seem to be no takers for the Bangalore-based team.

“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 was quoted as saying.

If the promoters do not find any buyers from Bangalore, they may have to look for potential owners from outside.