The profit potential of investing in sports businesses, franchises and teams has seen tremendous growth since the launch of the Indian Premier League and Pro Kabbadi League in India. Celebrity investments in sports not only build and diversify their investment portfolios but also highlight the sport, offering several people an opportunity to make a decent living. When it comes to female celebrity investments in sports, the investments are not simply made for an ROI, but also with a deep-rooted interest to grow/ highlight the sport, and their team, push inclusivity and bring to the limelight bigger causes. From an Indian viewpoint, there are several female celebrities who have made significant investments in sports-based businesses and teams. Here is a glimpse into some of the leading ladies of Indian cinema making waves with their sports investments-
Preity Zinta – Kings XI Punjab
A widely known name of Indian cinema, actress and producer, Preity Zinta, has been popular for being sighted in almost every match for her co-owned team in the Indian Premier League ( IPL) – Kings XI Punjab. She is a crowd favourite to have on the stands and is seen to be cheering her team on consistently over the years. Since its inception, she invested in the team in 2008, along with Ness Wadai and other investors. It has been noted by leading digital publications in India that the annual earnings of the team are anywhere between INR 150-200 crore – raised by the team players sporting particular brands on their jerseys, while another source of income is by selling tickets to the stadium for matches in their home ground.
Zinta is the owner of the company PZNZ Media, which is the co-owner of the IPL team since its inception and PZNZ Media is known to own a 23% stake in the team.
Zinta is also known to have many Real-estate based property investments across the country.
Juhi Chawla – Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
Former Miss India 1984, Juhi Chawla is a notable Indian celebrity and is also known for her investment in IPL cricket team – Kolkata Knight Rider along with her husband and Shah Rukh Khan. They have collectively co-owned the group since its inception in 2008.
Mehta Group (Juhi Chawla and her husband – Jay Mehta) – collectively own 45% of the stake in Kolkata Knight riders, while the remaining 55% stake is with Red Chillies Entertainment.
With a noted brand value of INR 629 crore in 2019, KKR is known to have a series of leading brands in various sectors, backing them with heavy sponsorship deals. From Mobile Premier League ( MPL), Exide, Greenply, Dream 11 to multiple other leading brands are seen on the jerseys of KKR players over the past decade.
In the 2022 IPL auctions, Juhi Chawla took to her Instagram to welcome her daughter, – Jahnavi Mehta as well as Shah Rukh Khan’s children Aryan Khan and Suhana Khan – as a ‘bunch of young owners’. Taking centre stage, these young ones were calling the shots at the auction for the new team.
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Shilpa Shetty – Rajasthan Royals (RR)
Shilpa is a well-known and celebrated Indian actress, producer, businesswoman, dancer and avid yoga practitioner. She is also known to be the part owner of the IPL team Rajasthan Royal from 2009 – 2015 along with her husband. Together, they bought an 11.7% ( approx) stake in Rajasthan Royal in 2009 for $ 15.4 million. RR was also the winning team of the first-ever IPL 2008.
A crowd favourite in the stadiums, Shilpa has been on ground supporting the team at multiple matches over the years and is a true fan of the sport. She went on to mention how the decision to pick up this stake in the team was a strategic approach to their investment in sports, and the brand associations ( of Rajasthan Royals) were partnerships they ( Shilpa and her husband) closely associated with.
Shilpa is also known to invest in other sectors and brands such as – MamaEarth and Simply Soulful. Known for her fitness routine and love for yoga, she is also widely known to have her own app, The Shilpa Shetty app – that consists of yoga routines, functional training, unique routines for pregnant women and women with menstrual cramps and more lifestyle-changing based routines.
Sonakshi Sinha – United Singhs
Kabaddi has been a rising and most-watched sport post-cricket in India. Over the last few years, there has been a substantial rise in the celebrity investments in the ancient sport of Kabaddi via its various league setups in India and abroad. One such investment has been by the Indian Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha. She was the third Indian celebrity, first female, to invest in United Singhs in the World Kabaddi League (WKL). Making this her first-ever investment in the world of sports. United Singhs is also co-owned by The Hayre Group of UK.
Her focus in many interviews was to ensure the public also engages with the league, which was built as an exciting and innovative concept. WKL had a total of 8 teams, close to 144 international players and a sum of INR 15 crore in players’ salaries for the tournament.
Read More: Kabaddi: India’s Fastest-Growing Sport
Tapsee Pannu – Premier Badminton League (PBL)- Pune Team
Known for her selective and striking roles in Indian cinema, Tapsee is another latest entrant from a long list of female celebrities who have invested in a sporting franchise. Pune Seven Aces, the team Tapsee invested in, is part of the Premier Badminton League. Her particular liking towards the game comes from her childhood, and she firmly believes the sport to be a family one most people have played in their childhood. Hence, giving us a solid reason to make Badminton an essential part of our lives.
Olympic and world champion Carolina Marin, India’s Lakshya Sen, Danish doubles professional and specialist Mathias Boe are a few players who have been part of the Pune Seven Aces. PBL in its third season has been known to have attracted over 60 world-class players that also included nine Olympic medalists.
Kajal Agarwal – Okie Gaming
Agarwal is a celebrated figure in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi films. A superstar of the south, Agarwal has recently invested an undisclosed amount in a gaming platform OKIE gaming, for a stake of 15%. She has officially joined the Mumbai-based brand as their strategic advisor. She quoted to Press Trust of India ( PTI), ‘The gaming industry is booming at this time and this is the right time to be part of it. I have been a passionate gamer myself, and I hope to influence and open new avenues for women gamers in India’. Okie Gaming offers real money gaming on its platform that includes games like Fantasy Cricket, Smart Number Quiz, Ludo, Rummy, Smart words, among others.
The gaming brand’s prime focus is to offer a ‘Desi Sports League’ that will bring to the forefront popular and celebrated regional sports like Dahi Handi (Maharashtra) and Vallam Kali ( Boat Racing, Kerala). The gaming company has been noted to have attracted an investment sum close to $350 million from venture capital firms from 2014 to the first half of 2020, also growing at an CAGR of 22%.
Not only are female celebrities leading some of these investments with sporting leagues, but they also are making way for inclusivity at the table for other females to follow. In the recent IPL 2022 auction, Kaviya Maran won many hearts with her conviction in the auction process and curating the apt team. Daughter of Kalanithi Maran, owner of the Sun Group and CEO of Sunrisers Hyderabad ( SRH), Kaviya was a force to reckon with during the IPL auction process. She is also involved with Sun FM and other verticals of the Sun Group.
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