Television

Mohit Burman willing to look at cricketing leagues globally

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MUMBAI: They had never won the Indian Premier League (IPL) title in 10 seasons but that didn’t stop Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) from investing in big names for the eleventh edition. Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, Yuvraj Singh and KL Rahul are names associated with this team.

Since the commencement of the league, the ownership of KXIP has remained unchanged with Dabur India director Mohit Burma holding the majority stake and the rest being distributed among actress Preity Zinta, businessman Ness Wadia and Apeejay Surrendra Group’s Karan Paul.

This season, the IPL has introduced a novel concept of allowing mid-season transfer of players. While some team owners believe that it won’t be used much, Burman thinks the opposite. Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, he says, “It is a great move by IPL. It helps the team realign its strategy keeping in mind the kind of position it is in at that particular moment. The players who haven’t received enough opportunity to play for the team will get a chance to play for some other team.”

The first seven seasons were loss-making with KXIP losing Rs 70 crore but the team stuck to it and managed to turnaround things in the next three seasons. Burman is set on cricket and isn’t keen on investing in other sports but will look at other cricketing leagues globally.

Burman may have taken a lesson from his investment in the team Dabur Mumbai Magicians in the Mumbai Hockey India League (HIL) from 2012 to 2014. The team is now owned by DoIT Sports Management. But he still owns the Pune team of the Indian Badminton League.

Financially, this was the best pre-tournament time for KXIP’s history. “For the first time in history, we closed all our sponsorships one month before. This year, we changed our strategy to sell out sponsorships by approaching the companies that generally don’t advertise on cricket. In terms of sponsorship revenue, we grew by 20-25 per cent compared to last year. The average title sponsorship for all the teams is between Rs 10 crore and Rs 20 crore. The top teams for selling sponsorships are Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders,” Burman adds.

KXIP sponsors for season 11 include Kent RO, Lotus Herbals, Jio, Fena, Royal Stag, Finolex, Manyavar, Tecno, Surya LED, Kingfisher, Tic-tac and Coca-Cola.

He lauds the investment by Star India to ensure the IPL reaches out to regional crowds this season onwards. “Star has put it a lot of work because of the amount they have paid for broadcasting it. IPL viewership has gone up in the south because they are showing it in different languages like Telugu, Tamil and Kannada,” he says.

The team that failed to qualify for the knockouts in the previous season, surprised everyone by deciding to release star performers Glenn Maxwell and David Miller with the former going to Delhi Daredevils and the latter being retained using the right to match option. The side that ended in the fifth position of the table decided to retain only the bowling all-rounder option Axar Patel this year.

As of today, KXIP stands fourth in the IPL ranking chart trailing Sunrisers Hyderabad, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders. The team will have to buck up if it wants to defeat champions and become champion for season 11.

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