Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were among the host of high-profile winning bidders as the organisers of the much-anticipated Indian Super League today unveiled the eight franchises for the event that is set to take Indian football by storm.

The bid winners for the eight franchises of the league, which is scheduled to be held in September-November, was announced here by organisers IMG-Reliance after evaluation of the bids by a seven-member panel.

Tendulkar bagged the Kochi franchise along with PVP Ventures while Ganguly, who bid by forming a consortium with Spanish League giants Atletico Madrid and businessmen Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjeev Goenka and Utsav Parekh, won the Kolkata franchise.

PVP has presence in real estate, media and entertainment and also owns Hyderabad Hotshots the inaugural Indian Badminton League champion team. Prasad Potluri, Chairman & Managing Director - PVP Ventures Ltd, in a statement said “We look forward to developing the Kochi club in the Indian Super League and are proud to partner with one of India’s greatest sportsmen, Sachin Tendulkar. We will tap the potential talent as also channelise the fervor and passion for football across the country to enhance the quality and competitive level of the sport. The following and enthusiasm of football in the southern part of the country presents a fertile opportunity for us to execute our plans and leverage global expertise for the development of a world class club.”

Sachin Tendulkar said “I will always remain a sportsman at heart who is keen to positively impact the sporting fabric of the nation. The Indian Super League presents a great opportunity to develop a platform for the youngsters to learn and enhance their talent to develop into outstanding players."

"It has been an interesting experience interacting with the young, passionate team at PVP Ventures led by Prasad Potluri. Based on the various insights shared by the team, the opportunity of the Kochi club seemed like a compelling and challenging proposition. With the Kochi club, we will strive to ‘score our goals’ and play a part in developing the game of football across the country.”

The Mumbai franchise went to Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor and Bimal Parekh while another tinsel town biggie Salman Khan bagged the Pune franchise together with Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan of the Wadhawan Group.

Another actor John Abraham teamed up with I-League side from the northeast, Shillong Lajong, to bag the franchise to be based in Guwahati.

The remaining three teams went to Sameer Manchanda—led Den Network for Delhi, Sun Group, the owners of IPL team Hyderabad Surisers, for Bangalore and the consortium of Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon, Dattaraj Salgaocar and Shrinivas V Dempo for Goa.

Organised by IMG-Reliance in association with Star India, the league has the backing of AIFF, and is set to see big names as icon players such as former France international Robert Pires and ex—Sweden and Arsenal player Fredrik Ljungberg.

Sources said that the organisers received positive response from more than 30 interested parties to its ’Invitation To Bid’ tender notice, which closed on March 27.

It is learnt that around 18 to 20 bidders had put in their money on ISL either through forming a consortium or individually. This is for the first time that a franchise property in sports in India has elicit such a response from the business as well as sports and Bollywood community.

(This article was published on April 13, 2014)
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