MUMBAI: Bollywood star Salman Khan has shown interest in buying an IPL team. The actor, accompanied by his sister Arpita, tried his best to keep the meeting with IPL commissioner Lalit Modi under wraps, but Modi let the cat out of the bag in a chat with mediapersons a few hours later. “We’ve been having discussions for the last few months but this is our first official meeting.
“He (Salman) was interested in knowing what it takes to own a team and the process involved – when his move could be initiated and how long it would take. I think he is a serious buyer,” Modi said. Modi also confirmed that Salman’s interests lay in a “new team”.
Industry sources feel the actor’s decision to bid for an IPL team could have been prompted by Arpita’s fondness for cricket. The fact that his friend-turned-bitter rival Shah Rukh Khan
owns the high-profile Knight Riders team may also be a factor.
While Salman Khan was unavailable for comment, his business manager Vikas Kapoor said, “It is too early for us to talk about it. We will speak only if things become concrete.”
IPL sources say that actors Devgan and Dutt too have shown interest in buying a IPL team. Devgan’s business manager Kumar Mangat told TOI, “A common friend from the IPL did approach us but that was a long time back. Ajay was about to start his film ‘All The Best’ and so things didn’t move forward.”
Modi confirmed the developments, saying, “We have had a large number of people interested in the IPL, with over 20 celebrities wanting to become franchisees.” However, he refused to name any of them.
The tenders for the two new IPL teams will be floated in December and the bidding will take place next May or June. The ownership cost for a new team could be in the range of $200-300 million.
Meanwhile, Rajeev Shukla, member of IPL’s governing council, told TOI when asked about the Bollywood stars’ fresh interest in the league: “There will be other bidders as well along with Salman Khan. And whosoever comes up with the maximum bid will win a team.”