NEW DELHI – The Knight Riders Group, which already owns Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League and the Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League, will be making “a significant long-term investment” in the future of American cricket as they have become stakeholders in the U.S.-based Major League Cricket, the multi-million dollar T20 tournament expected to start in 2022.
The investment by the Knight Riders Group, which is led by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan along with Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta, is part of a strategic long-term investment to help USA Cricket run the six-team T20 league.
“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,” said Shah Rukh Khan in a statement.
American Cricket Enterprises, USA Cricket’s partner in developing a professional T20 league in America, had invited the Knight Riders Group.
Venky Mysore, CEO of KKR and Red Chillies Entertainment, said, “We have had a keen interest in the developments in the United States and our expansion into the U.S. is consistent with our long-term strategy.”
“We look forward to the new challenge of building cricket in the world’s most sophisticated sports and media market and we believe that we can bring a huge amount of expertise to help make Major League Cricket realise the potential that it undoubtedly has,” he added.
MLC will be the first professional T20 league in America if and when it is launched. The tournament was slated to take place over the span of nine weeks starting from July 4 in 2021 but was postponed following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
San Francisco, Calif., Chicago, Illinois, Boston, Massachusetts, Seattle, Washington, Houston and Dallas, Texas, Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, D.C. were among the 22 locations touted for the tournament when the league was announced in February this year.
Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan of ACE and MLC said, “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,” they added.