Entrepreneurs Vivek Lodha and Abhinav Banthia come on board as strategic investors
New Delhi, September 15, 2021: With a vision to develop the handball ecosystem in India and take the sport to the next level, Bluesport Entertainment Pvt Ltd, the official license holders of the Premier Handball League (PHL) under the aegis of the Handball Federation of India (HFI), has announced a mammoth investment of INR 240 crore. The company has also disinvested shares and onboarded entrepreneurs Vivek Lodha and Abhinav Banthia as their strategic investors.
The company will use the funding to accelerate the growth of both men’s and women’s handball in India in the next five years, providing it with a much-needed boost not just at the elite level but also at the grassroots.
“Investment as well as having the right people as partners is key to developing any sport. Apart from creating a professional handball league and its marketing, we are also looking at a holistic approach to develop the sport at the grass-root level through various strategic collaborations and customised programs especially curated to train the players, coaches as well as upgrading the handball infrastructure in India. The business acumen of Mr Vivek Lodha and Mr Abhinav Banthia and our vision to revolutionise this fastest Olympics sport in India under the guidance of the HFI are some of the reasons that ensured the board to go ahead with this investment,” said Manu Agrawal, CEO and Co-Founder, Bluesport Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.
The company has already acquired the rights for both men’s and women’s leagues—PHL, in India for the next 10 years. With an investment of INR 120 crore each for the men’s and women’s games, it plans to spend 35 cr for the grassroots development, nurturing and training of junior and sub-junior talents in the country as well as implementing a well-structured program to help local coaches acquire international standards. It will also provide necessary international exposure and foreign training opportunities to the Indian players through the league.
“Handball is already a popular and much-followed sport globally and with a massive youth population in India, there has been a steady rise in the appetite for new-age sports. We will be using 25% of the funding in promoting handball across the country, tapping the interest while 15% of it will go into developing the infrastructure which, I feel, will be the key factor in the growth of the sport in India. In the next five years, we not only want to change the way handball is being played or perceived in the country but also to make the PHL a commercially viable product. We expect 33% growth in terms of compound annual growth rate and believe both the men’s and women’s leagues are capable of recovering the investment and turning profitable by the end of their respective third seasons,” Agrawal further added.
Played by over 190 countries across the world, handball has immense popularity in India at the grass-root level with more than 85000 registered players currently. It is one of the few sports where female players match the competitiveness of their male counterparts and it also demands great physical fitness.
The much-awaited inaugural edition of the PHL is scheduled to take place next year as the franchise-based league is all set to add a new and exciting chapter in the history of Indian handball.