Millionaire Indian businessman Vijay Mallya has confirmed his purchase of Caribbean Premier League franchise Barbados Tridents, ending weeks of speculation about the proposed sale.
The 60-year-old said he had met with Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart last week and secured government’s support in the venture, and had subsequently moved ahead with the acquisition.
“I’ve acquired the team. It is a joint venture if not exactly in the classical sense of the term. I will, of course, take a lead role and that is because I understand the Twenty20 competition,” he told the Mumbai Mirror newspaper here Saturday.
He added: “There is no central revenue in the CPL as in the case of the IPL (Indian Premier League) and the revenue stream is tickets and sponsorship. The numbers did not add up and the only solution was to go to the government.
“I met the Prime Minister of Barbados and he has promised all the support. Once the government came forward, I told the CPL that I’m ready. It is a joint venture of sorts.
“Going forward, the CPL has said it will disburse central revenue and when it happens, it will be bonus.”
Mallya’s acquisition of the Tridents follows a similar move by fellow Indian businessman Shah Rukh Khan who purchased Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel last year.
The move also comes just days before the official CPL draft set to take place in Barbados next Thursday, with the season scheduled to start in June.
Mallya will pay a US$2 million franchise fee and also fund Tridents players’ salaries but is confident of recouping the investment.
“It can be recovered as Kensington Oval in Barbados is one of the best stadiums in the Caribbean,” he pointed out. “The CPL history shows all games are full.”
With Mallya chairman of United Spirits which owns IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore, there has been speculation over a possible name change for the Tridents once the franchise was sold.
However, Mallya assured the Bridgetown-based franchise would remain the Tridents, as the name reflected the country’s heritage.
“It will not be RCB II. They have a name and I don’t want to tinker with that,” he stressed.
“Trident is the national symbol of the country and so I don’t intend to change it.”
Tridents are one of the most prominent teams involved in the three-year-old CPL, the Caribbean’s premier T20 championship.
They boast the likes of IPL star Kieron Pollard, Pakistani Shoaib Malik and West Indies Test and one-day captain Jason Holder.
Tridents won the 2014 CPL title to qualify for the Champions League Twenty20 in India, and were also good enough to reach the final of the 2015 edition where they eventually lost to Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel.