KKR keen to explore acquisitions to strengthen brand’s presence

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on January 27, 2018

venky mysore

Looking at multiple franchises under an umbrella brand

Having wiped out accumulated losses and after becoming debt-free in 2015, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is looking to further strengthen the brand’s presence, primarily through acquisitions, across other sporting events.

The idea is to extend an umbrella brand of “Knight Riders”.

According to Venky Mysore, CEO and MD, KKR (the Shah Rukh Khan-owned Indian Premiere League franchise), acquisitions can be explored in related games in similar leagues or across other sports – both in India and overseas.

“We have also been open to acquiring other assets around the world… Not necessarily (cricket). We like football, we like various other sports,” he told BusinessLine.

KKR owners it may be mentioned has already made an acquisition in a similar cricketing league overseas. In 2014, it acquired the Trinidad and Tobago franchise of The Caribbean Premiere League (CPL T20) – the IPL equivalent in the West Indies – and had then re-christened it Trinbago Knight Riders, thereby, extending the “Knight Riders” brand.

According to Mysore, KKR, has already established itself as a standalone entity in India. But, IPL is just a two-month affair. In order to create a fan-base across geographies there has to be “year-round engagement”. This is where acquisitions come in handy.

“Lets say, we now have two assets in IPL and CPL. If we can have one or two more we might acquire in different areas, geographies and so on. Suddenly, what you have is year-round activity under an umbrella brand of Knight Riders,” he adds. Explaining how it works, Mysore points out that multiple franchises under an umbrella brand would mean better merchandising revenues. For example, creating an ‘icon logo’ (a common logo without franchise acronyms) and popularising the same.

“If you see the logo (a flaming helmet) for Kolkata and Trinidad & Tobago franchises are the same. What this means is we have been able to extend the brand into a different market. That market (Carribean), even though it is small, has a deep cricketing history,” he explains.

KKR is now “financially” stable. And, that makes Mysore confident to explore acquisitions. “It gives us encouragement to say there is enough retained earnings to go and acquire something,” he says.

But such acquisitions need a “long term sense”. For, he does not want to put “good money in bad investments”. There are many “such (sporting) leagues” globally, but, most do not have broadcasting revenues, and hence, the “financial model becomes tough”.

Published on May 09, 2016

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