(Trinidad Guardian) The T&T economy stands to benefit financially from the presence of the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) in Trinidad and Tobago, so says CEO of TKR Venky Mysore.
The successful Indian businessman explained to Guardian Media that already US$5M (TT$30 million) has been invested in T&T one way or the other. He explained: “I want the people of this country to understand that we are not here to take anything. As a matter of fact we are here as any other foreign investor and will bring financial value by our presence. Already this year we have brought in to the economy of this country around US$5m and given an economy of this size, that is a significant boost.”
Mysore, the CEO of Red Chillies entertainment, which has as its major shareholder Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, bought into the T&T Red Steel last year and completely took over the team for the 2016 edition. They have since rebranded and the team is now known as the Trinbago Knight Riders.
Asked why invest in a T&T team in the CPL, Mysore replied: “We are always looking at opportunities to build our brand over the world. We saw the CPL as a nice fit and wanted to come down and take a look at it. They sent us the proposal and we had a look and thought that we could make a move here. We have brought along four of our sponsors from the Kolkata Knight Riders set up into the Trinbago Knight Riders team and they don’t even sell their products here, so it is not as if we are coming into Trinidad to offer our sponsors products on the market.”
He continued: “You have to understand that the Knight Riders group is one of the most successful sports and entertainment company. Everywhere around the world, people are starting T20 leagues and the first ones to get a proposal to invest is Knight Riders.”
Responding to why T&T from all the other Caribbean countries, he explained: “We decided to come into Trinidad because of the connection we had with many of the players from this country. Sunil Narine has played with us for many years in the IPL and although not playing for us, we do share a very good relationship with Dwayne Bravo and Keiron Pollard. We also thought that we could have aligned better business and otherwise with Trinidad, given the long-standing relations between India and this country. We saw a lot of parallels and decided to get involved in the Trinidad set-up. Trinidad reminds us so much of Kolkata.
He added that he and his partners are in this venture for the long haul because they are fully aware that they can’t turn a profit anytime soon.
“Ventures like these will take a while to return profits. We are an experienced business unit and we understand that. It is an investment and once we continue to build the brand the profits will come,” he said.
In addition, he said: “We are happy to be part of CPL and once this product is marketed well by the organisers of the tournament, many more eyeballs will be fixed on it, and this is where the serious revenues will come in from—television rights. We have been told by the CPL that our arrival into the tournament has brought many more eyeballs to it. They said to us that 50 per cent of the viewership of the last tournament came from India. You see we have a social media fan base of around 17 million people and when TKR team plays we keep them informed, so they can now watch the games and realise what a wonderful country Trinidad is and get involved in terms of travelling for a vacation or coming to invest in business. This is another way where TKR is assisting Trinidad and Tobago by its presence here.”