10 December 2015 08:09:28 IST

Decision to venture into IPL purely out of passion: Intex Technologies’ Keshav Bansal

Rajkot franchise owner unsure of breaking even; aims to build the brand using IPL

Just like the people of Gujarat waited for eight seasons to have their own team in the Indian Premier League (IPL), there was a young cricket enthusiast, equally eager to associate with the IPL for many years. Keshav Bansal, Director, Intex Technologies, could not let go an opportunity to own a team in one of the most glamorous sporting format.

Speaking to BusinessLine , Bansal expressed why he made an aggressive bid with a specific choice for Rajkot. Edited excerpts:

What brings Intex, an electronics and consumer durable brand, to the business of cricket?

Our decision to get into the IPL came out of passion and love for the sport. Gujarat is a place of sports enthusiasts. The State has given great cricketers in the past. It has been very long that Gujarat has remained away from the IPL.

As a mobile brand, Intex has a strong presence in Gujarat, besides having a strong pan-India presence. As the No.1 Indian mobile handset brand as per IDC market share data for third quarter of 2015, Intex has not only strong presence but also has exhaustive portfolio of 16 product categories, ranging from mobile handsets and multimedia speakers to LED TVs and washing machines. IPL provides a great platform to penetrate into our target audience.

In a competitive scenario of consumer durables and electronics business, how financially viable is this new venture?

We plan to use the IPL platform to advertise ourselves. As far as the investment model is concerned, apart from the initial ₹10 crore bid amount that we are paying, we will need to pump in an additional ₹60-90 crore every year for the next two years.

This includes buying players, payment for the stadium, travel, lodging, security of the players, etc. As an individual I am passionate about sports and the decision of investing in an IPL team was made out of passion and not out of board-room business brain-storming. We aren’t even sure about making a break-even, let alone making a profit.

Now that you own an IPL team that shall represent Rajkot, what is the plan going forward?

I have a personal connect with Gujarat. The State is my ‘nanihal’ - my mother’s native. And moreover, it is a place from where great cricketers have come up.

There will be formalities to name the team and then buying the players. Our idea is to add players from within Gujarat and promote unexplored local talent from within the State. We aim to field a very strong team and have our own expert coaching staff along with a strong management. Put together them all, we want to make a great show on the field.

Why did you choose cricket to associate with? There are premier versions of other sports also…

We are not averse to any other sport. IPL is a big brand-building platform and cricket being the most loved sport in the country, with large youth connect, gives us a synergy to connect with them. Venturing into any sport is more dependent on the situation. We found an opportunity only now to get into the IPL, and that too only for two years. We look forward to staying beyond two years and also venture into other premier sports as well.