Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan has bought the Jaipur franchise of the proposed IPL-style Pro Kabbadi League to be held in the country in July-August for an undisclosed sum.
The league, a joint initiative of industrialist Anand Mahindra and sports commentator Charu Sharma through their firm Mashal Sports, would feature eight city-based franchises who would play on home and away basis.
"It is a matter of huge pride. Over a year ago Charu pitched pro kabaddi to me. It overwhelmed me. It is a cheap sport but the amount of skill required is immense. Having been a sportsman and being a sports enthusiast, it's very exciting to be able to be part of this endeavour," Bachchan said at a media conference here.
"The sport of kabaddi is already immensely popular, and through the league I hope we can take this great sport to a whole new horizon."
The other franchise owners are Ronnie Screwvala (Mumbai), Future Group's Kishore Biyani (Kolkata), Kotak Mahindra Bank's Uday Kotak (Pune), Yes Bank Managing Director and CEO Rana Kapoor (Delhi), Core Green Group (Vizag), Kalapathi Investments (Chennai).
The owner of the Bangalore franchise will be decided in a few days, Sharma said.
The matches, to be held from July 26-August 31, would be telecast live on Star Sports channel.
The league has the backing of the International Kabaddi Federation, Asian Kabaddi Federation and Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India. The promoters have roped in the Singapore-based World Sports Group to market the event.
All matches would be played on specially developed mat in state-of-art indoor stadia across eight cities.
Ahead of the league's commencement, a players' auction featuring 72 Indian and 28 overseas players, including Pakistanis, would be held between June 7 and 10 to help the franchise build their personnel, said Sharma.
The other foreign players are from Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Canada, England, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Malaysia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkmenistan.