A prominent cricketer, said to be Sachin Tendulkar, has bought the Mumbai franchise in the million-dollar Indian Badminton League (IBL).
The daily DNA quoted sources as saying that Tendulkar has come forward to promote the sport and own a team, which in all probability would be Mumbai Masters. “I would say it is too early, and I would not like to take any names, but a prominent cricketer will be the owner of the Mumbai team,” said a source.
Hyderabad-based PVP group have been named the first franchise in the six-team tournament that will be held from August 14 to 31 in Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad and Bangalore. However, the names of the other franchises are being kept under wraps as paper work is yet to be completed.
PVP Group, which made an unsuccessful bid to buy the now-defunct IPL team Deccan Chargers, is a Hyderabad-based multi-business house that has interest in realty, media and entertainment.
“PVP Group are the first, and the rest are finalised but for the paper work. We will come out with the names as and when the paper work is done with,” Ashish Chadha, CEO of Sporty Solutionz (the commercial partners for IBL) told DNA.
The national icons named for the IBL are Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, PV Sindhu, Ashwini Ponnappa and Parupalli Kashyap. The auction of Indian and foreign players for the badminton league is scheduled to be held on June 30.
The names of the six franchises are - Karnataka Kings (Bangalore), Hyderabad Hotshots (Hyderabad), Pune Vijetas (Pune), Lucknow Warriors (Lucknow), Rajdhani Smashers (Delhi) and Mumbai Masters (Mumbai).
The inaugural tournament will have a total of 90 matches, with each franchise hosting a two-day leg. The top four teams will battle it out for a place in the final to be held in Mumbai on August 31.
STAR Sports has bagged the broadcasting rights for the fortnight-long tournament. "We initially got a bid of Rs 1.1 crore from Sony but later STAR came up with a better offer," Times of India quoted a source as saying.