Kolkata Knight Riders players
Kolkata Knight Riders players celebrate the fall of a wicket during their campaign in IPL in the ͵羺. Image Credit: BCCI

Dubai: The untapped marketing potential for cricket in the US is set to be realised with the formation of a Major League Cricket there, much in the lines of Major League Soccer. What’s more, Kolkata Knight Riders, the IPL franchise co-owned by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, will have a team there as the group has pledged a major investment there with American Cricket Enterprises and will collaborate with them to launch the league.

Major League Cricket will feature top international players from the US and around the world, and is expected to provide another T20 pit stop where top exponents of the format can strut their stuff.

The Knight Riders Group, two-time champions of IPL who also have a hugely successful brand in the Trinbago Knight Riders, four-time winners of the Caribbean Premier League, see the investment as a major opportunity for expansion of their brand on a global scale.

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“For several years now, we have been expanding the Knight Riders brand globally and closely watching the potential for T20 cricket in the USA. We are convinced that Major League Cricket has all the pieces in place to execute on its plans and we look forward to making our partnership an enormous success in the coming years,” SRK, as he is popular as, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Venky Mysore, the CEO of KKR and Red Chillies Entertainment said: “We feel fortunate to have been consistently recognised as one of the best franchises in T20 cricket and have become one of the fastest growing sports brands in the world. As T20 cricket expands internationally, we are flattered by the regular inbound requests to play a major role in growing the sport abroad.

‘‘We have had a keen interest in the developments in the United States and our expansion into the US is consistent with our long-term strategy. We look forward to the new challenge of building cricket in the world’s most sophisticated sports and media market and we believe that we can bring a huge amount of expertise to help make Major League Cricket realize the potential that it undoubtedly has.”

Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan of American Cricket Enterprises and Major League Cricket said about the association: “We are delighted to partner with the Knight Riders Group in this historic partnership. By adding the Knight Riders Group to our family of world-class and diverse investors, this investment into the future of Major League Cricket is a huge validation of our vision for the new league, and we are particularly excited to have such an iconic cricketing brand onboard with us.

“As USA Cricket’s official partner in developing a professional T20 league in America, we have a shared vision to bring world-class professional cricket to the world’s largest sports market. The announcement today is a significant step forward in showing the potential of the American market, and we are delighted to have the backing and expertise of the Knight Riders Group to help us achieve this vision.”