From IPL to T20 League in America : The Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and its promoter Shah Rukh Khan will be investing big in American T20 League. Shah Rukh Khan and his KKR group will be investing in American Cricket Enterprises (ACE), a U.S. group that plans to launch Major League Cricket in 2022.
The partnership between ACE and the KKR will include financial investments and expertise to help ACE develop and launch Major Cricket League in the US. The investment is being led by Khan, along with his partners in the Knight Riders franchise — Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta.
“For several years now, we have been expanding the Knight Riders brand globally and closely watching the potential for T20 cricket in the US. We are convinced that Major League Cricket has all the pieces in place to execute its plans and we look forward to making our partnership an enormous success in the coming years,” Khan said in a statement.
“Even though cricket is not a mainstream sport in the U.S., the size of the diaspora and the appetite for cricket is so strong that the U.S. is the second-largest market to consume cricket content, after India,” Knight Riders Group CEO Venky Mysore said in a phone call.
KKR investments in Cricket : KKR is gradually growing their base in the sport of cricket
Among Knight Riders’ holdings are the Kolkata Knight Riders, a IPL team in India, as well as T20 franchises in Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa. Their are also talks in progress to own a franchise in yet to be launched England Cricket Board’s – The Hundred.
The U.S. league likely will take place in late summer after the Indian Premier League has its season, allowing for international players to come stateside. ACE plans to begin a minor league system in 2021 in preparation for launching what’s expected to be a six-team U.S. pro circuit in 2022. Rather than selling franchises, ACE is selling ownership interests in the league, with most investors eventually adopting a league team as their own. The dollar commitment of Khan’s group isn’t disclosed, although ballpark figures for ACE’s early pro league fundraising are in the $60 million to $75 million range, according to Mysore
“The combination of Bollywood and T20 cricket has been extremely successful in other markets, and we’re looking to leverage that to the extent we can in content creation and the merger of entertainment and cricket,” said ACE co-founder Vijay Srinivasan in a phone call to Yahoo Sports.
Srinivasan is also CEO of Willow Television, an American sports channel focused on cricket. “T20 broke out as a television product in 2007 and since then has been totally energized. Some estimates are that three-quarters of all cricket media revenues are associated with the T20 format.”