"we look forward to making our partnership an enormous success"
Bollywood superstar and the Knight Riders Group owner, Shah Rukh Khan, has invested in American Cricket Enterprises (ACE).
The strategic partnership will include financial investment and significant expertise to help ACE develop and launch Major League Cricket in the US in 2022.
SRK’s Knight Riders Group, which also has Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta as board members, are owners of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR).
They are now set to become a part of American cricket.
Shah Rukh has now purchased the Los Angeles cricket team. He said:
“For several years now, we have been expanding the Knight Riders brand globally and closely watching the potential for T20 cricket in the USA.
“We are convinced that Major League Cricket has all the pieces in place to execute on its plans and we look forward to making our partnership an enormous success in the coming years.”
ACE plans to begin a minor league system in 2021 in preparation for launching what’s expected to be a six-team US pro circuit in 2022.
Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan, of American Cricket Enterprises and Major League Cricket, said:
“We are delighted to partner with the Knight Riders Group in this historic partnership.
“By adding the Knight Riders Group to our family of world-class and diverse investors, this investment into the future of Major League Cricket is a huge validation of our vision for the new league, and we are particularly excited to have such an iconic cricketing brand onboard with us.
“As USA Cricket’s official partner in developing a professional T20 league in America, we have a shared vision to bring world-class professional cricket to the world’s largest sports market.
The announcement today is a significant step forward in showing the potential of the American market, and we are delighted to have the backing and expertise of the Knight Riders Group to help us achieve this vision.”
Mr Srinivasan added: “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.
“T20 broke out as a television product in 2007 and since then has been totally energised.”
“Some estimates are that three-quarters of all cricket media revenues are associated with the T20 format.”
Shah Rukh Khan’s investment can also improve the level of domestic competition, according to Paraag Marathe, chair of the USA Cricket Board.
He said: “Here is one of the most reputable groups in India coming in, having had the benefit of hindsight, learning all those things we haven’t had and being able to point us in the right direction—that is so valuable for us.”