Home / Sports / Sports News /  Adani, GMR buy Ultimate Kho-Kho League franchises
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The Adani group and GMR group have bought the Gujarat and Telangana franchises of the Ultimate Kho Kho League, respectively. The conglomerates, however, did not disclose their investment amounts.

This is the first professional Kho Kho league launched by Kho Kho Federation of India and Dabur India Ltd chairman Amit Burman. The federation said it is trying to promote the indigenous game as a professional and competitive sports. The first edition of the league will be launched this year.

Sony Pictures Networks India has signed a multi-year deal as the official broadcasting partner for the league.

The Adani and GMR groups have built sports verticals to support Indian athletes. Adani also owns boxing and kabaddi teams, while GMR is the owner off the Indian Premier League franchise Delhi Capitals.

The league’s chief executive, Tenzing Niyogi said nearly 200 crore has been earmarked for the league. “We have always believed in creating a healthy mix of team owners who can share a similar vision for the growth of non-cricketing sports," said Niyogi. Collaboration with corporate India as stakeholders is a strong foot forward for Ultimate Kho Kho to become a sports movement.

Adani Sportsline is associated with other sporting leagues to promote homegrown sports and build engagement across the national audience, said Pranav Adani, director, Adani Enterprises. “Our experience with kabaddi and boxing leagues gave us confidence that the kho kho league will do wonders for traditional sports. Our decision to partner in this league is an extension of our aim to build a world-class ecosystem that nurtures sporting talent, accelerates the sports economy and play the role of an enabler in India’s journey to become a leading sporting nation," he said.

GMR Sports said it has created grassroot level sports development initiatives in Delhi-NCR. The Telangana team was picked up to tap into the popularity of Kho Kho down south. “At GMR, our aim is to promote sports among youth, connect with the community at large and build a supporting ecosystem ...With a vision to nurture talent at the grass root level, it has invested in providing access to professional sports by setting up sports rraining academies in India," Kiran Kumar Grandhi, corporate chairman, GMR Group, said.

Vinod Bisht, director and CEO of Delhi Capitals, an IPL franchise, and CEO of UP Yoddha in the Pro Kabaddi League, said that in order to connect with the real India or “Bharat", they need to get into games which are immensely popular, but do not have a product with which the community at large could connect. “Games like wrestling, kabaddi and kho kho had an immediate requirement. So that is why we have chosen besides cricket to go into indigenous games and connect with India," he said.

“People have humongous nostalgia attached to this particular sport, and when I say that I mean both genders. The way we are curating it for on air is also exciting, the whole match will be done in 60 minutes," said the league’s CEO Niyogi.

India’s sports media and sponsorship industry reached about 95 billion in FY20 but will be growing at a slower pace to reach 150 billion by 2024, said a report by sports-related employment agency Sporjo and FICCI. The industry grew at a CAGR of 14% till 2020.

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