KKR, DD CEOs aim to expand brands in T20 Global League

Owning a franchise in Cricket South Africa's recently launched T20 Global League will help their brands' growth, believe CEOs of Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils.

"Cricket South Africa persuaded us for a long time, and we finally agreed to be on board because it looked like a good business prospect,” said KKR's CEO Venky Mysore.   -  Bhagya Prakash K.

For Bollywood, South Africa has always been a favourite destination. Be it shooting in the stunning locales of the country or attending high profile events, stars like Shah Rukh Khan have always showed their affinity towards the Protea land.

And keeping the love affair intact, Shah Rukh’s Knight Riders outfit has stepped into the cricketing domains of South Africa — buying the Cape Town franchise of the inaugural T20 Global League. While the franchise will be called the Cape Town Knight Riders, the franchise’s CEO Venky Mysore confirmed to Sportstar on Monday that the decision to enter the new league was taken keeping the business prospects in mind.

“Our strategy has always been to grow the business and bring out more opportunities in newer markets. We did a similar thing in Caribbean Premier League (where they own the Trinbago Knight Riders outfit), and this new league will help us grow the brand,” Mysore said from London.

The CEO also feels that since the Global League will be held in South Africa, the timings would also suit the Indian audience. “That way, we will be able to connect better with Indian fans. Cricket South Africa persuaded us for a long time, and we finally agreed to be on board because it looked like a good business prospect,” Mysore said.

The Cape Town franchise will have Jean Paul Duminy as the marquee player and local hero Jacques Kallis will take charge as the chief coach.

“With local stars around, the league will be quite attractive for all the fans. After our entry into the CPL, the viewership has surged, and we expect a similar thing here,” Mysore said.

DUA: 'WE HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH SA PLAYERS'

The GMR Group, promoters of Delhi Daredevils, has acquired the Johannesburg franchise.

“The main strategy is to grow our business, and develop a global brand,” GMR Group's CEO Hemant Dua told Sportstar. The group recently bought a team in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), and Dua explained that the South African league will help them attract more people globally.

“Ever since the beginning, Delhi Daredevils has maintained a good relationship with South African players, so that was the sentiment attached to this league. We want to build a brand locally,” he said. The target, he added, would be to maintain the resonance between the IPL and the Global League.

While it has roped in Kagiso Rabada as the marquee player, a call on the team name and the support staff will be taken later.

AFRIDI: 'T20 GLOBAL LEAGUE WILL HELP US GROW'

However, it is not just about the Indian franchises, Pakistan’s My Sports World — the promoters of Peshawar Zalmi — bought the Benoni franchise. Zalmi, which won the Pakistan Super League (PSL) this year, will be hoping to make its presence felt in the international arena.

“Cricket South Africa has done a great job by introducing a Global T20 league. The name itself makes it a global affair, and this will help us grow our brand from one continent to the other,” Zalmi’s owner Javed Afridi told Sportstar.

The group has been a sponsor of the Pakistan team for quite a few years now, and Afridi feels this league will give them a global exposure.

“We tried investing in CPL too, but that didn’t work out. This league will definitely help us in expanding the brand,” Afridi said.

Quinton de Kock has been named the marquee player, and the coaching staff will be announced in August.

Another PSL franchise, Lahore Qalandar, will also be a part of the South African league.