Vivek Ranadivé, TIBCO Software founder and CEO and part of an investment group trying to build a new sports arena in Sacramento, Calif., to keep the NBA Sacramento Kings team there, told The New York Times that he plans to promote the NBA heavily in India.
“I believe basketball will be the global sport of the 21st Century, because it can be played by young and old, boys and girls, indoors or outdoors, rich or poor," Ranadivé told the Times. “Independent of whether the Kings’ bid succeeds or not, I’m very committed to making it the No. 2 sport in India.”
Ranadivé is vice chairman and the third largest stockholder of the Golden State Warriors in the San Francisco Bay Area. If his group outbids a rival group to buy the Kings, he would likely need to sell his stake in the Warriors in order to “become the face of the Kings” and the team’s general manager, the Times opined.
At a two-day meeting in New York April 18-19, NBA owners reviewed the competing bids for the Kings.
The group given the best chance is led by hedge fund manager Christopher R. Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steven A. Ballmer. It has a tentative deal in place to buy 65 percent of the team from the Maloof family and move the Kings to Seattle, where it plans to build a new arena.
Ranadivé’s group includes 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark S. Mastrov and Qualcomm CEO Paul E. Jacobs.
NBA Commissioner David Stern told reporters April 17 that it would likely take several more weeks before the owners can vote on the sale of the team.
Ranadivé hopes to boost the NBA’s marketing drive in India. The league opened an office in Mumbai in 2011 and now has six employees in India. Three NBA games are shown each week on the channel that broadcasts the largest cricket league and the NBA has launched a Web site in India. Several NBA players have traveled to India to hold clinics over the last four years.
Stern, who recently traveled to India for the first time, said the potential for growth in India is enormous.
“The demographics favor us," he told the Times. “This is not about finding the next great Indian player, though over time we know it’s inevitable. It’s about working with schools, creating programs. But we’re not unmindful of television, merchandising or events. This is a long-term proposition.”
If Ranadivé’s group wins, expect him to introduce “Bollywood Nights,” the popular promotions held for the last three years at Warriors’ games, to Sacramento. Ranadivé has also created a smartphone application that allows fans to follow the Warriors.