Cricket-NFL, NBA stars invest in IPL’s Rajasthan franchise

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FILE PHOTO: Apr 26, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (left) defends against Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul during game five of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul and NFL duo Larry Fitzgerald and Kelvin Beachum have invested in the Rajasthan Royals, the Indian Premier League franchise said on Sunday, underlining IPL’s growing global appeal.

The popular Twenty20 league, which counts Bollywood actors and industrialists among franchise owners and attracts the who’s who of cricket, has grown into a 10-team affair this season with Gujarat and Ahmedabad paying a combined $1.7 billion to come on board.

The three Americans will be minority investors in 2008 champions Rajasthan, the franchise said in a statement without sharing details of their investment.

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“We are extremely pleased to have Chris, Larry and Kelvin join us as investors who have seen the vision of the Royals as a truly global brand,” said Rajasthan’s lead owner Manoj Badale.

The United States will co-host the 2024 Twenty20 World Cup, although cricket has not become popular there.

“I am excited to have become one of the first US athletes to see the value and scope for growth in the IPL,” said NBA star Paul, 36.

“With a variety of components, including stadium experience and fan engagement still left to fulfil their course, I see myself contributing world-class experience through this strategic investment.”

The two-time Olympic gold medalist also has a stake in the minor league baseball team Winston-Salem Dash.

Rajasthan owners acquired a majority stake in the Caribbean Premier League team Barbados Tridents last year.

“I am keenly aware of the popularity of cricket internationally and am thrilled to join the Rajasthan Royals franchise as an investor,” Arizona Cardinals’ offensive tackle Beachum said.

“I respect the global reach of the IPL and am committed to supporting the Royals.”

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