What Tendulkar is basically doing is that he is recognising football’s potential in India and betting on the future. And that is great… Tendulkar made his millions through sport and the fact that he is prepared to invest at least a few of those millions back into sport shows that perhaps India’s sporting future is not mired by just corruption and administrative muddles. It shows that perhaps there is a chance to actually set things right…
So much of sport is about someone recognising your potential and giving you the opportunity to shine. Without that chance, Sachin Tendulkar might not have become the cricketer we know, he might have become a doctor or a lawn tennis player. Without that chance, we might not even have known him the way we do. And he might not even have had the money to bet on the Indian Super League and Indian football. Of course, this is small change as compared to the Indian Premier League(IPL’s worth is about $3.67 billion, according to London-based Brand Finance Plc, compared with the $200 million paid for the eight soccer franchises.)
But what Tendulkar is basically doing is that he is recognising football’s potential in India and betting on the future. And that is great. For an investor it is important to see the potential in any opportunity, divide it by risk and see where it stands. Right now, there is virtually no audience for the I-League – the top tier of Indian club football. Most people in India would have a tough time naming the starting XI of even one of the teams in the I-League – that is the reality of the moment. They can all name EPL sides with ease but Indian football has no takers. Not even the AIFF can sort out
the mess.But Tendulkar has chosen to look beyond reality and into the realm of possibility.
“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 to learn and enhance their talent to develop into outstanding players,” Tendulkar said in a statement. At the end of the day, Tendulkar may talk about wanting to change the fabric of sports in the country but really, if you are putting in money, you expect some returns.
As a sportsman, Sachin Tendulkar knew how to make the most of every little chance that came his way. As an investor, his record isn’t that stellar– his restaurant line didn’t exactly set the sales charts on fire and he’s always seemed like a bloke who was all about the game and nothing else. But this seems to mesh into the idea of Tendulkar well. He understands sport in India and what it takes to succeed. He has seen it at close quarters and if he believes that football has a chance then it is tough to simply slap the thought aside. His association, along with that of Sourav Ganguly, is a ray of hope to all those taking up sports other than cricket in India. There are also reports that Tendulkar is going to buy the Mumbai franchise of Mahesh Bhupathi’s International Premier Tennis League.
Tendulkar made his millions through sport and the fact that he is prepared to invest at least a few of those millions back into sport shows that perhaps India’s sporting future is not mired by just corruption and administrative muddles. It shows that perhaps there is a chance to actually set things right. “Any additional money coming into football can only benefit the game in India, as it can’t get worse than the state it’s in now,” Chuni Goswami, who captained India’s soccer team from 1962 to 1966, told Bloomberg. “Whether it will challenge the popularity of cricket is another question. The organizers could still struggle to fill the stadiums.” The winning bidders paid about $25 million for a 10-year contract for each of the eight soccer teams, said a statement by IMG. So for the moment, it looks like Tendulkar is in for the long haul.
The Indian Super League
AN UNRIVALLED FOOTBALLING EVENT
Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were among the host of high-profile winning bidders as the organisers of the much-anticipated Indian Super League recently unveiled the eight franchises for the event that is set to take Indian football by storm…
The bid winners for the eight franchises of the league, which is scheduled to be held in September-November, was announced in Mumbai by organisers IMG-Reliance after evaluation of the bids by a seven-member panel. Tendulkar bagged the Kochifranchise along with PVP Ventures, which also owns a team in the Indian Badminton League while Ganguly, who bid by forming a consortium with Spanish League giants Atletico Madrid and businessmen Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjeev Goenka and Utsav Parekh, won the Kolkata franchise. The Mumbai franchise went to Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor and Bimal Parekh while another tinsel town biggie Salman Khan bagged the Pune franchise together with Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan of the Wadhawan Group. Another actor John Abraham teamed up with I-League side from the northeast, Shillong Lajong, to bag the franchise to be based in Guwahati.
The remaining three teams went to Sameer Manchanda-led Den Network for Delhi, Sun Group, the owners of IPL team Hyderabad Surisers, for Bengaluru and the consortium of Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon, Dattaraj Salgaocar and Shrinivas V Dempo for Goa. Organised by IMG-Reliance in association with Star India, the league has the backing of AIFF, and is set to see big names as icon players such as former France international Robert Pires and ex—Sweden and Arsenal player Fredrik Ljungberg.