Dubai: Hollywood actor Gerard Butler is the latest movie star to have bought stakes in a T20 cricket franchise.
The 43-year-old Scotsman, who is famous for his roles in 300 and RockNRolla, has taken an equity interest in the Jamaica Tallawahs, who are through
to the semi-finals of the ongoing inaugural six-team Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
They play the Barbados Tridents in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on Friday, a team part-owned by fellow actor Mark Wahlberg, who is better known for his performances in The Departed and The Fighter.
Tinseltown’s interest in the shorter format of the game is nothing new following investments made by Bollywood actors in the cash-rich Indian Premier League. Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty all own stakes in Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals, respectively.
Butler revealed he was approached to invest in the franchise by the CPL’s founder and chairman Ajmal Khan, a Barbados-born entrepreneur who owns merchant bank Versus International. “My good friend Ajmal Khan has been telling me about the CPL and I’ve had the opportunity to watch some of the matches,” said Butler, who is known to be an ardent fan of Scottish football club Celtic.
“It is obvious that this tournament is the home of the greatest party in sport so I wanted to get in on the fun.
“Having said that as a Scotsman, I definitely have an appreciation for cricket and I also recognise that the CPL is a great combination of sports and entertainment. I’m excited about joining the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise, and hopefully being part of the team that wins the inaugural tournament.”
Khan said: “Celebrities owning sports teams is nothing new but to have two Hollywood actors taking a vested interest in cricket teams is quite novel. The CPL continues to attract that ‘star power’. I think it’s a testament to the quality of the tournament, the carnival party atmosphere, the music, the entertainment, the fans, and the experience that only the Caribbean can deliver.
“We’re just a few days away from the semi-finals but the interest in, and desire to be a part of, the CPL is still there because the tournament just keeps getting better with every game that’s played. I am excited to have my good friend Gerry [Gerard] come to the CPL to join the party.”
CPL investors will be hoping the league takes-off as quickly as its eight-team Indian equivalent. After its sixth season, which concluded in May, the IPL’s brand value was estimated to be worth $2.99 billion (Dh10.982 billion).
Dashing West Indies opener Chris Gayle, former Australian greats Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist are just some of the star players to have competed in the inaugural CPL as well as ex-West Indies legends turned coaches Viv Richards and Desmond Haynes.