“Cricket weds entertainment” – from the beginning of Indian Premier League, the catchphrase has caught everybody’s eyes with glamorous gala nights. The open love affair has taken a step further over the ten years as the B-town got more infatuated by various other sports as well.
The overwhelming support by the Bollywood celebs for various multi-million rupee sporting leagues is an affair well known on a global scale. A host of franchise-based leagues across various sports is blooming and celebrities plunge in, adding glitz and glamour to the games, while establishing a business for themselves.
Here is a look at the Bollywood stars, who to express their love for sports went on to own a sports teams across various leagues:
1. Shah Rukh Khan
The Badshah of Bollywood is well known for his sports interest from his college days. His first declaration of his love for sports came when he plunged in to own the Kolkata franchisee of Indian Premier League. Since then, Kolkata Knight Riders and Shah Rukh Khan have become synonyms to each other. He even went on to build the Knight Riders franchisee and took his love interest on a global scale by owning a team in Caribbean Premier League and then extended it with the forthcoming Global T20 League in South Africa – where he owns the Cape Town Knight Riders franchisee.
2. Preity Zinta
Akin to King Khan, the dimple girl of Bollywood showed her love interest for cricket by owning the Punjab franchisee in IPL. From past ten years, Kings XI Punjab and Preity Zinta have never been apart and it is apparently the new-found home for the Bollywood actress. But as we know, love has no boundaries and same applies to love for sports. Preity Zinta, once again chasing King Khan, has become the team owner of Stellenbosch Franchisee of Global T20 League.
3. Juhi Chawla
Partnering with Shah Rukh Khan on silver screen, Juhi Chawla followed suit and joined hands with Shah Rukh Khan for the Knight Riders franchisee. The common interest between these two is quite evident as Juhi has a stake in all the Knight Riders of the King.
4. Ranbir Kapoor
Ranbir Kapoor, a huge Barcelona fanatic, decided to take his love for football to a new level by co-owning Mumbai City FC for the Indian Super League. Donning blue and white colours, he is always present for his club. And several times he has echoed his ambitions for the professional growth of his club.
5. Hrithik Roshan
The dancing star of Bollywood was brought on-board by the Wadhawan Group as the co-owner of the Pune City FC of ISL in 2014. The celluloid heartthrob has been in good terms with club and has danced his way in blue and orange stripes, since then. But the new reports suggest that the relationship between the Club owners and the brand icon going through some hardships. He is expected to leave the club for the upcoming season after three long years of the relationship.
6. John Abraham
John Abraham’s love for sports has been known to the B-town for a long time now. A football fanatic himself, he owns the ISL club North East United FC. Not only this, but before football he went on to own the Hockey India League franchisee as a partner of the Delhi Waveriders team.
7. Abhishek Bachchan
Abhishek Bachchan, the star kid also joined the league of other Bollywood stars and has been a regular appearance during the matches of Mumbai Indians. He is also known for his ardent support to the English Club, Chelsea FC. As of now he has stakes in two teams across two different leagues. To everyone’s surprise he bought the Jaipur franchisee of the Pro Kabaddi League. His team won the inaugural season of this popular league. And he also co-owns the Chennaiyin FC in the ISL. Abhishek is often spotted cheering his kabaddi players from the sidelines.
8. Shilpa Shetty
Shilpa Shetty has been the co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals team of IPL since inception. But scandals forced her and her husband Raj Kundra to give up the stakes of her team. However, the couple continued their love for sports and recently launched a sporting league of their own – Match India Poker League.
9. Sushant Singh Rajput
The man to start his sporting journey as Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the biopic on the former Indian Cricket Captain also entered the sporting arena for the first time by co-owning the Delhi Gladiators team in the recently concluded Super Boxing League. The league also saw various b-town celebs join hands with franchisees as business partners. Randeep Hooda, Sohail Khan, Suniel Shetty, Riteish Deshmukh and Rana Daggubati were amongst the others associated with teams during the inaugural season of SBL.
10. Sunny Leone
The new star to join the B-town list of sport team owners, Sunny Leone is set to start her stint with ‘Kerala Cobras’ of Premier Futsal. Sunny will join Rana Daggubati and Arya, who are other star attractions from the Bollywood industry associated with the tournament.
The list of silver screen stars’ commercial date with sports is long. Sonakshi Sinha, Akshay Kumar and Yo Yo Honey Singh owned different teams for the World Kabaddi League. The Dabang star, Salman Khan, although speculated various times doesn’t own any team but is associated with Celebrity Cricket League. The league also boasts of many cinema personalities under its banner. There are other stars such as Sanjay Dutt, who partnered with Raj Kundra for Super Fight League.
Then there are film actors, and actresses, from the South Indian film industry with their entrepreneurial interests in sports. Chiranjeevi and Nagarjuna currently co-own the ‘Kerala Blasters’ and ‘Tamil Thalaivas’ for ISL and PKL, respectively.