Media industry veteran Ronnie Screwvala has forayed into the business of sports with the acquisition of Mumbai-based football club and training academy PIFA FC, according to a report by The Economic Times.
The paper said the deal value is estimated at around Rs 2-3 crore and this is part of a larger gameplan to build presence in football as a sports discipline.
Screwvala, who earlier sold off UTV to Disney, and currently runs a private investment firm Unilazer Ventures, is also planning to bid for football team in the Rupert Murdoch and Mukesh Ambani-promoted Indian Super League (ISL).
Set up in 1970 in Colaba, Mumbai, PIFA FC competes in the Mumbai District Football Association League across three age groups, operating a dozen football academies in the city.
Presently, the football academies under PIFA are training nearly 500 students and Unilazer is looking to take it up to 2,000 by the end of this year. Unilazer has also roped in Indian national team goalkeeper Subrata Paul, and will take care of his marketing rights as part of the new sports management venture.
Unilazer Ventures had recently established a sports division Unilazer Sports to focus on sports management besides being involved with sports academies and creating IPs and franchises in two or three select sports. It had hired Supratik Sen, previously sports marketing head at Red Bull, as CEO of the division.
Meanwhile, Screwvala told the paper that he is looking to spend nearly Rs 10 crore for setting up new training schools and talent management under PIFA. However, if the firm manages to strike a deal in ISL, its investments in football as a field would rise up to Rs 75 crore over the next two-to-three years.