The second edition of the Tennis Premier League, which starts in Mumbai, looks like a star-studded affair, with at least four of the eight teams in the league co-owned by film stars. Actress Rakul Preet Singh co-owns the Finecab Hyderabad Strikers; actress Sonali Bendre, the Pune Warriors; actress and director Divya Khosla Kumar, the Delhi Binny’s Brigade; and actress Aditi Rao Hydari, the Chennai Stallions. The Mumbai Leon Army is co-owned by the veritable Indian tennis ace Leander Paes.
What’s interesting, however, is that while the teams’ individual posters have on them their players, the league’s latest poster has only the four actresses posing with Leander in the middle, looking directly into the camera, hogging the limelight! An eyeball grabbing trick?
“It’s important to bring in the audiences. Abhishek Bachchan owns the Kabaddi Premier League’s Jaipur Panthers, and that brings in people to watch the matches. Taapsee Pannu bought a badminton team and her name gives the team greater mileage. The crowd comes in also to see the stars on court. Initially, many went to watch even the IPL matches because team owners like Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty would be present. And unlike cricket, which is still big in India, a not-so-popular sport needs ‘star’ faces to promote it,” says a sports analyst, adding that even TV channels broadcasting the event need star faces to grace the screen. Stars or not, the tournament would be an interesting one as it has players ranked in the top 30 of the All India Tennis Association.