Indian-American Ranadive buys Sacramento Kings for record deal
Washington: Indian-American tech tycoon Vivek Ranadive has purchased the Sacramento Kings for a record USD 535 million, a move officials say will help popularising basketball in cricket-crazy India.
Ranadive, founder-CEO of multi-billion dollar realtime computing company TIBCO, led a group of investors this week to secure an agreement to buy 65 per cent stakes in Sacramento Kings for a league-record valuation of USD 535 million.
The long awaited deal was announced by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, himself a former NBA player, early this week.
"This was one heck of a comeback," said Johnson as he announced the deal to keep the leading club in Sacramento, the California capital.
With this sale, Ranadave has become the first Indian-American owner of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league and one of the Big Four major sports leagues in North America.
Randave, who landed in this country from Mumbai with USD 50 in his pocket and later on went on to earn a master's degree in electrical engineering from MIT and MA from Harvard, said he jumped in for the bid to prevent the Sacramento King from moving away to Seattle.
NBA Commissioner David Stern hopes that the deal will help him taking the basketball to India, a country of more than 1.2 billion people.
"It's going to be exciting. We're going to build a global brand with the Kings. We're going to give the fans the product that they deserve," 55-year-old Ranadave told The USA Today.
"I'm going to do what I do in my business, which is surround myself with people that are way smarter than me," he said.
"But I am a huge fan. I'm going to be there at all the games, be there to support the team in every way."
Ranadave led the group of investors to buy Sacramento Kings after the NBA Board voted 22-8 against relocation of the team to Seattle.
"The committee voted and recommended to the board and it was adopted, that if the Sacramento community could produce a site, a construction team, a strong, financially strong ownership group, and the kind of support by the city and the region that the Mayor Johnson has galvanized, then the appropriate outcome was to keep the team in Sacramento, and that's what they did," Stern said.