Barely four months into his retirement Sachin Tendulkar’s transition from being his sport’s icon to a sports entrepreneur already seems complete. The batting legend was named as the co-owner of the Kochi franchise in the much-hyped Indian Super League, along with Hyderabad-based PVP Ventures Ltd.
And it doesn’t end here. Tendulkar has also teamed up with the PVP group to co-own the Mumbai franchise of the International Tennis Premier League (ITPL). Prasad Potluri, the chairman and managing director of PVP Ventures, said on Sunday that they have reached an agreement with the ITPL organizers and would make a detailed announcement soon. “That is already confirmed. We, along with Sachin, have acquired the Mumbai franchise for the ITPL. The deal was finalised a few days ago and we will share the details in an elaborated way soon,” Potluri said.
Ready to serve
The ITPL, a brainchild of multiple doubles Grand Slam winner Mahesh Bhupathi, is scheduled to be held in November-December this year and the Mumbai leg of the four-city tournament will be played on December 7, 8 and 9. The Mumbai team is headlined by world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who is believed to be paid $1 million per night. The team also consists of American great Pete Sampras, doubles specialist Rohan Bopanna, Sania Mirza, Ana Ivanovic, Gael Monfils and Fabrice Santoro.
On Sunday, PVP Ventures and Tendulkar were also awarded the Kochi franchise for the ISL. Their bid is believed to be valued at approximately Rs 15 crore. Based on his decades of experience, Potluri said Tendulkar, a self-proclaimed tennis lover, will be providing strategic support whereas PVP Ventures will take care of the ground work. The maestro is also believed to be a keen football follower and he described his latest venture as a ‘compelling and challenging proposition.’
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“Based on the various insights shared by the team, the opportunity of the Kochi club seemed like a compelling and challenging proposition. With the Kochi club, we will strive to ‘score our goals’ and play a part in developing the game of football across the country,” the 40-year-old Tendulkar said in a statement.
The PVP group claim to be one of the largest investors in the sport and entertainment industries. They had also bid, albeit unsuccessfully, for the Hyderabad franchise in the IPL two years ago. They made their first foray into Indian sport last year when they acquired the Hyderabad franchise in the Indian Badminton League (IBL).
Tendulkar, meanwhile, has been linked to several such ventures in the past, including the IBL and i1 Super Series, which failed to take off. Post retirement, though, he has looked more receptive to such ideas. Potluri said it did not take much convincing to bring him on board for both the projects. “We have been friends for a long time and have discussed these opportunities earlier as well. Sport is Sachin’s way of life. He likes tennis a lot and is passionate about it. But he is game for any sport,” Potluri said. “Our objective is to develop sport in islands of excellence. Hyderabad is the country’s badminton capital and Kochi is well known for football.”
With the inaugural edition of the ITPL to begin immediately after the ISL ends, one of the biggest challenges for the management would be to mobilize resources for both their endeavors. But Potluri was unperturbed. “We have the management bandwidth for the tennis and football leagues. By investing in so many leagues, you get to have economies of scale. We have a focused management team handling all these multiple disciplines,” Potluri said.