Most of high profile cricketers in India are among the richest people in the world. No other sport in the India is economically as rewarding as cricket. Brand endorsements, bat deals, guest appearances, IPL pay check are the additional income sources for the cricketers along with their annual contracts with cricket boards which allow them to invest in lavishly in profitable ventures.
So here are some of the cricketers who have owned sports teams in other fields –
Virat Kohli himself has stated on many occasions that football is his second favourite sport. In 2014, Kohli became a co-owner of Indian Super League club FC Goa. He stated that he invested in the club with the “keenness of football” and because he wanted the football to grow in India. He added, “It’s a business venture for me for the future. Cricket’s not going to last forever and I’m keeping all my options open after retirement.”
His interest is not only limited to co-owning a team, he even organised a match for charity called the ‘Celebrity Classico’, aimed at raising money for his organisation called the Virat Kohli Foundation.
In September 2015, Kohli became a co-owner of the International Premier Tennis League franchise UAE Royals, and, in December that year, he also became a co-owner of the JSW-owned Bengaluru Yodhas franchise in Pro Wrestling League.
His brand value stands at a staggering $144 million which allows him to invest in ventures that excite him without a second thought.
Sachin Tendulkar co-owns the Kochi ISL team in the Indian Super League Football in association with PVP Ventures owned by Prasad V Potluri, Nagarjuna. The team has been named as Kerala Blasters after his nickname “Master Blaster”. During the inaugural season, his team Kerala blasters finished as the runner-up’s, but in 2015, they had a disastrous season as they managed to win only three out of their fourteen matches.
The next season, they created a record of winning most consecutive home matches (6). They are yet to win the championship in ISL.
Sachin is known to be a long-term tennis fan as he has been spotted numerous times at the Wimbledon championships over the years. Due to his love towards tennis he co-owns the Indian Aces team of the International Tennis Premier League (ITPL), which became the champions of the inaugural season.
He also jointly owns the badminton team Bengaluru Blasters which participates in the Premier Badminton League. Sachin is also the co-owner of Tamil Thalaivas in the Pro Kabaddi League.
They say football is omnipresent in the blood of people from Kolkata. So it should not come across as a surprise to hear that Dada of Indian cricket, Sourav Ganguly is the co-owner of Kolkata franchise in ISL, the Atletico de Kolkata team. The Spanish League giants Atletico Madrid and businessmen Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjeev Goenka and Utsav Parekh along with the “Prince of Kolkata” co-own the Kolkata franchise.
Atletico de Kolkata won the inaugural edition of the ISL in 2014, but failed replicate the same kind of success in the next season in 2015.
However they managed to reclaim the ISL trophy in 2016 by defeating their arch nemesis Kerala Blasters in the Final match. In fact, their both title-wins have been achieved by defeating Sachin’s franchise Kerala Blasters. Sourav Ganguly is often spotted in the stadium during ATK games as he is an avid football fan.
The former India skipper has explained that the reason he became the co-owner of a football league franchise in India was to spread the popularity of football in the cricket struck Country.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Along with Sahara India Pariwar, Dhoni co-owns Ranchi based Hockey club Ranchi Rays, a franchise of the Hockey India League. The main purpose as stated by MS Dhoni behind this initiative was to nurture the natural hockey talent from his home state.
Cricket might be his primary interest, but he is a trendsetter in following his passions like motorbikes, shooting, and other sports and investing money and energy in business ventures that will be his life after cricket.
Along with Abhishek Bachchan and Vita Dani, Dhoni is also a co-owner of Chennai based Football club Chennaiyin FC, a franchise of the Indian Super League. Chennaiyin FC has been one of the most marketable clubs in the league due to the presence of Legendary MS Dhoni. He is often spotted at ISL matches along with his wife, and also he occasionally joins his franchise team during their victory celebrations.
Dhoni’s interest in bikes was often discussed in media. He co-partnered Tollywood hero Akkineni Nagarjuna in buying a Supersport World Championship team Mahi Racing Team India. The team competed in the Supersport World Championship until 2014, but they withdrew from the championship from that year citing budget difficulties as the reason.
Sunil Gavaskar co-owns the Mumbai franchise of the Indian Badminton League (IBL) actor Akkineni Nagarjuna and the badminton association of Hyderabad president, V Chamundeshwarnath. Gavaskar, along with chairman of the Intex Group, Kishan Gehlot, Shashi Shetty, chairman of the Avvashya group, and Ajay Sethi, chairman of Channel 2, jointly owns the Singapore franchise of the International Premier Tennis League.
“Tennis as a sport has always been instrumental in transcending borders and catering to multiple demographies, therefore our decision to bid for the Singapore franchise in what I believe is the next big step towards the golden era of tennis.” Gavaskar said after he successfully bid for a team in the auctions.
Sharing about his passion for badminton sport he said “I am proud to be associated with badminton which I’ve always admired and passionately followed and played a bit as a fan. The sport has produced legends and recorded many milestones for India and I hope my association with the Indian Badminton League proves to be a worthy contribution to the great sport of badminton.”
Suresh Raina has become the second cricketer after former Indian skipper Dhoni to be associated with the Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) after he became the co-owner of the Uttar Pradesh Wizards franchise HIL. Uttar Pradesh Wizards is a field hockey team based in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh that plays in the Hockey India League. It is owned by Sahara India Pariwar along with Suresh Raina. Former Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans serves as coach for the team and former Indian captain Dhanraj Pillay acts as the technical director of the team