Tendulkar, Ganguly set to venture into IMG-Reliance’s Indian Super League

While the euphoria surrounding cricket doesn’t look like it’ll be going away anytime soon, another sport has captivated the hearts of Indians – football. Aiming to capitalize on the sport’s growing popularity, Reliance Foundation, owned by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) in association with IMG and Rupert Murdoch’s Star TV sowed the seeds of the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL), a football league that will feature marquee foreign players along with local talent. The teams will be allotted on the basis of bids. Many famous personalities have expressed interest in owning a team or at least, playing a role in the same. The latest are two of India’s greatest ever cricketers – Sachin Tendulkar and SauravGanguly.

Tendulkar, widely heralded as one of the greatest ever cricketers of all time, is set to partner with Hyderabad-based PVP Ventures to bid for a football team. At the same time, Ganguly is is tying up with Kolkata-based businessman Harsh Neotia for another team. The base price for bidding has been set at 120 Crores. The deadline for submitting bids has been set as March 27th with many others apart from PVP Ventures and Ambuja Neotia Group which is headed by Harsh Neotia expressing interest in the same. PVP Ventures has been reluctant to comment on the little master’s involvement with the firm while Harsh Neotia confirmed that his company has picked up the bid documents and said a partnership with Ganguly is in the works.

Many Bollywood actors too were trying to get into the fray. These include RanbirKapoor, AbhishekBachchan, John Abraham and Shah Rukh Khan, the latter through his company Red Chillies, said people familiar with the ongoing bidding process. Former UTV boss Ronnie Screwvala too has picked up the ‘Invitation to Bid’ document floated by IMG-Reliance, the people cited earlier said.

The ISL will be held in eight cities with nine being shortlisted to far – Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. The top eight teams will be selected for the tournament. IMG-Reliance, which is managing the bidding process, is a joint venture between India’s largest private sector company and IMG Worldwide, which manages events and brands in many parts of the world.

PVP is no stranger to big sports events. The Hyderabad based company tried to buy the Hyderabad –based team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier this year and their tennis team in the Tennis League to be held in December includes players such as Rafael Nadal, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna.

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