The association between celebrities and sports kicked off with the Indian Premier League. But even with its seventh edition set to start, cricket is no longer the only sport where stars are making investments. On Sunday (April 13), Sachin Tendulkar was announced as the owner of the Kochi franchise of the upcoming soccer league (India Super League), to be held in September-October.
In a statement, he said, "I will always remain a sportsman at heart who is keen to positively impact the sporting fabric of the nation. The Indian Super League presents a great opportunity to develop a platform for the youngsters..." He also added, "…we will strive to ‘score our goals’ and play a part in developing the game of football across the country."
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The retired cricketing legend isn’t alone. His former India teammate, Sourav Ganguly, has invested in the Kolkata franchise. Actors Ranbir Kapoor (Mumbai), Salman Khan (Pune) and John Abraham (Guwahati) are also among the franchise owners. John, of course, also co-owns a team — Delhi Waveriders — in the Hockey India League. Abhishek Bachchan bought a franchise in the Pro Kabaddi League, while former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar and actor Nagarjuna co-own Mumbai Masters in the Indian Badminton League.
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The growing trend of celebs getting attracted to such events seems to have even changed the fate of the sports concerned.
"Worldwide stats reveal that sports leagues have given some of the best returns on investments. Sports stars are investing in other sports to expand their personal brands. And to be a part of another sport, in a bigger role. For film stars, it is a portrayal of their personal interests and tastes that is also a driving force behind such investments," says Raman Bhanot, anchor and sports consultant.