Back in India, some of the celebrity franchise owners are more famous than the players themselves. In the IPL, that may be hard to believe when you have the likes of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli entertaining the crowds and commanding millions as they do so. But it’s true: IPL franchises are, in many cases, owned by global megastars. So here is our guide to six of the biggest IPL celebrity owners.
Six Of The Biggest IPL Celebrity Owners
1. Preity Zinta, Kings XI Punjab
With a 23% stake in Kings XI Punjab, Preity Zinta isn’t the majority shareholder. However, she is the most recognisable face of this side. She’s at virtually every game, cheering on the team from the sidelines. And if you want to know the score, just look at her expression as she reacts to every ball.
Away from the cricket field, Zinta is an established Bollywood actress whose career began back in 1998. She’s taking a break from the screen for now and focussing on the cricket. But an impressive back catalogue features dozens of films including Dil Se and Happy Ending.
2. Shah Rukh Khan, Kolkata Knight Riders
He’s frequently referred to as SRK and he’s the man who heads up KKR. Shah Rukh Khan has a majority, 55% share in the Kolkata Knight Riders and he’s seen his team pick up two Indian Premier League trophies to date.
Here we have another notable Indian actor. But perhaps the man known as the Badshah of Bollywood, or the King of Bollywood, is the most famous of them all. He has a huge body of work behind him. For many Knight Riders fans, though, Shah Rukh Khan is the man who guides their hopes during every IPL season.
3. Juhi Chawla, Kolkata Knight Riders
Bollywood also owes a debt to KKR’s other shareholder, but Juhi Chawla is a far more versatile performer. She scoops up the remaining 45% share of this Kolkata side. And while Shah Rukh Khan can often be found holding court in the stands, Chawla is more likely to be pitchside cheering the side on.
She has a big back catalogue of films behind her but Juhi Chawla has also worked extensively as a model, singer and producer. Back in 1984, she also won the Miss India beauty pageant.
4. Nita Ambani, Mumbai Indians
Unlike most of the names on this list of biggest IPL celebrity owners, Nita Ambani wasn’t widely known to the general public until the IPL came along. She made her name in the corporate world and is currently the founder of the Reliance Foundation – an offshoot of Reliance Industries.
The Indian Premier League thrust Ambani into the public realm. She’s subsequently become a personality in her own right. Ambani’s celebrated three IPL titles with Mumbai Indians. But a fierce expression when things aren’t going to plan suggests players should give her a wide berth on the way back to the dugout.
5. Ness Wadia, Kings XI Punjab
Sharing a 23% stake in Kings XI is Ness Wadia and Indian businessman with a cosmopolitan past. Born in England in 1971, Wadia is the great grandson of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Wadia made his name in India with the running of several companies, most notably the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. He’s another franchise owner to have enjoyed renewed celebrity status since the IPL came along. However, he prefers to take more of a back seat behind Preity Zinta.
6. Kalanithi Maran, Sunrisers Hyderabad
The owner of Sunrisers Hyderabad rounds of our list of biggest IPL celebrity owners. Kalanithi Maran, dubbed the ‘Media Baron’, is essentially an Indian equivalent of Rupert Murdoch.
Maran is the founder of the Sun Group and he owns newspapers, TV and radio stations, thereby covering all aspects of media. He’s also took Sunrisers to IPL glory in 2016. And after settling for a runners up slot at IPL 11, Maran is targeting another title in 2019.