Mumbai: A tinge of Bollywood has been added to Ultimate Kho Kho with popular singer Badshah joining the league as co-owner of the Mumbai franchise alongside renowned film producer, developer and sports enthusiast, Punit Balan.
The Mumbai-based team completes the line-up for the inaugural edition of Ultimate Kho Kho which will take off later this year.
Fascinated by the pace and elegant style of the game as well as the nostalgic value that the sport has for him, Badshah believes Ultimate Kho Kho has humongous potential. He aims to inspire and build superstars in this indigenous sport through this association.
“My mother used to play Kho-Kho during her college days and this ground-rooted game is very close to my heart. This nostalgic and personal connection triggered me to be part of Ultimate Kho Kho,” an excited Badshah said about his first sports venture.
“It’s an adrenaline packed, fast-paced indoor sport with extremely agile players doing Sky-Dives in air. In general, the culture of Mumbai is fast and efficient and that’s what we want this team to be. My vision would be to nurture the best players out of this league, and we want to ensure the best environment, infrastructure, training and nutrition for the players,” he further added.
A young and dynamic entrepreneur, Balan is one of the few new-age sports investors. Besides heading the Balan Group—a company, which is valued at INR 3,500 crore, he has also owned teams in various sporting leagues like badminton, tennis, table tennis and handball league apart from investment in sports employment start-up and actively supporting various sportspersons.
“It’s very important to adopt the right approach if you want to grow something. I have been involved in developing sports through leagues in the past and now alongside Ultimate Kho Kho, I want to play a part in Kho-Kho’s journey to success,” said Balan, the co-owner of Mumbai franchise.
The traditional sport originated in Maharashtra and the state has been a dominant force in the Indian Kho-Kho circuit. As many as three teams from Maharashtra competed in the National Championships and in the recently concluded Khelo India Youth Games also, they emerged champions in both boys and girls categories.
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Badshah and Punit as co-owners of the sixth franchise. We already have on-boarded big corporates as well as the Government of Odisha and now these two popular names from the entertainment sector reflect the positioning and calibre of the league. Kho-Kho has deep roots in Maharashtra and a team representing the state’s capital will surely help us bolster the popularity of the game,” said Ultimate Kho Kho CEO, Tenzing Niyogi.
With this development, Ultimate Kho Kho continues to take giant steps towards its mission of revolutionising this homegrown sport. The league had earlier added eminent corporate names to its roster including the Government of Odisha in collaboration with ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel, Adani Group, GMR Group, Capri Global and KLO Sports.
The league will be broadcasted across Sony Network India’s (SPNI) sports channels SonyTEN 1(SD & HD), SonyTEN 3 (SD & HD), SonyTEN 4 and on SonyLIV in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu as other regional languages.