First Indian American to own a majority stake “major” sports franchise in the USA.
May 6th, 2013 a proud moment for Indian Americans when one of their own, Vivek Ranadive, from Mumbai lead an investment group that reached an agreement to acquire a majority stake in the Sacramento Kings for $348 million. The transaction closed at a reported valuation of approximately $534 million, a record at that time.
More importantly, it was a relief for thousands of locals fans and local officials as the purchase by the Ranadive group prevented a competing acquirer to relocate the team to Seattle. After all the Kings were and continue to be the only major-league professional franchise in California’s capital city.
Ranadive founded and sold TIBCO, a very critical technology platform.
He was joined by Naren Gupta, the founder of Wind River and Raj Bhathal, an owner of a Southern California based swimwear company. We believe there are a number of other Indian-Americans part of the ownership group.
Recently, Forbes estimated the value of the team at $1.8 billion.
Ranadive was an owner of the Golden State Warriors prior to acquiring the Kings
Ranadive became a co-owner of the Warriors franchise in 2010. However, he had to divest his Warriors stake prior to taking control of the Kings.
This experience must have given him valuable experience and knowledge to run his own team.
Bollywood Night is an annual event at the King’ s Arena. The Kings also have a website in Hindi.
Every year since the change of ownership, a “Bollywood night” is designated on a game day. Hindi and Punjabi music plays loudly on the speakers in the arena accompanied by spectacular dancing by bhangra troupes.( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBWWH0S5I9Y)
To increase their appeal to a strictly Hindi reading audience, in October 2013, the Kings launched a hindi website – https://www.nba.com/kings/hindi.
The ownership is passionate about bringing the NBA to India
David Stern, the former Commissioner of the NBA traveled to India with Ranadive believed that basketball would become as popular in India as it did in China.
In the past the King’s point guard, Isiah Thomas toured India to promote the game and held training academies and coaching clinics. Two years ago, the King’s Power forward, Harrison Barnes toured India to help those that were participating in the Jr. NBA Global Championship, designed to teach life skills and of course the fundamentals of the game.
In 2017, the NBA opened a training academy in India.
In 2019, a NBA pre-season games was held in IndIa. The Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers are scheduled played two games in Mumbai. Priyanka Chopra and Abhishek Bachchan were in attendance.