Vijay Deverakonda becomes co-owner in volleyball league team Hyderabad Black Hawk

Vijay Deverakonda becomes co-owner in volleyball league team Hyderabad Black Hawk

New Delhi: Telugu film actor and producer Vijay Deverakonda has picked up a minority stake in Hyderabad Black Hawks, a franchise in the professional men’s indoor volleyball league, Prime Volleyball. Deverakonda has acquired under 10% in the team at a valuation of 160 crore.

With this, the actor has become co-owner of the team along with investor Abhishek Reddy Kankanala, an entrepreneur who owns a majority stake in the Hyderabad franchise.

“It is our vision to take volleyball to all corners of the country, to all ages, all genders, all backgrounds, and all levels of athleticism. We want to empower our rural communities the same way as our cities, and level the playing field for all of our children. We want volleyball to be more than just a sport — we want to transform it into something that can help and benefit everyone,” said Deverakonda on his association.

“As a co-owner and a brand ambassador, Vijay brings a new perspective into the mix that can really push our brand to the next level, and advance our organisation a massive step towards achieving our vision,”Kankanala told Mint. “He believes in the potential of the team in the league.

Kankanala, who is the head of Global Arena LLP, has also invested in Premier Badminton League’s team Bengaluru Raptors and the Bengaluru Brawlers of the National Boxing League.

Prime Volleyball is a private league which operates on a business model where the franchise owners are also the stakeholders in the league. Its inaugural edition in February last year featured seven teams from Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Kochi, Hyderabad, Calicut and Ahmedabad. The league is an initiative of Baseline Ventures with no involvement from the Volleyball Federation of India.

Baseline Ventures, a sports, events, entertainment, and licensing firm also manages athletes like PV Sindhu, K Srikanth, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Prithvi Shaw, Smriti Mandhana, Nikhat Zareen, PR Sreejesh, among others.

The second edition of league will begin next month in three different cities – Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kochi. All eight franchises – Calicut Heroes, Kochi Blue Spikers, Ahmedabad Defenders, Hyderabad Black Hawks, Chennai Blitz, Bengaluru Torpedoes, Mumbai Meteors, and Kolkata Thunderbolts – will play a round-robin before the top four teams in the league stage qualify for the semi finals. The final will be played in Kochi.

The season will have 31 matches and will be broadcast on Sony Sports Network and on its OTT platform. The organisation claimed that in its inaugural season, it had a cumulative television viewership of 41 million.

Last year, the league owners Baseline Ventures had filed a legal notice to Discovery Communications India which directed the Volleyball Federation of India to pay a sum of 4 crore with interest at 12 percent p.a., and a sum of 5,00,000 as costs to it. Its claim was that Baseline was owed over 6 crores by this body as decided by the courts.

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