India is currently witnessing the second edition of the Legends League Cricket. Initially, Kolkata, Lucknow, and Delhi hosted the matches. However, Cuttack is hosting the next part. The response from the crowd has really good been positive at those the centres. Ahead of the Legends League clash of Bhilwara Kings vs Gujarat Giants, Raman Raheja, the CEO, and co-founder of the League spoke to NDTV about the success of this tournament. He also gave the future roadmap of the tournament.
“More than me enjoying, the fans are loving it. The idea of you know, bringing it to India — which is the home of world cricket now, most of the audience comes from India and the sub-continent. The idea was to make it big and India obviously, helps bring that up. The audience loves it and when the audience loves it, the story of the product’s success really starts to show up. It is quality cricket happening so it is really good.”
Women empowerment has been one of our key initiatives: Raman Raheja
The most unique and important part of this Legends League is that women umpires played a vital role in this. They were present both on and off the field. However, Raheja had a plan behind it. He said,
“In fact, this idea was used by us in the first edition as well where women empowerment has been one of our key initiatives. We want to bring unique ways of involving women in sports. It is about the match officials as well, they are equally good as men’s umpires. It is a good success that we have seen because one of the umpires who was working with us last season, she was from Hong Kong and when she went back home, she literally had a celebrity status where girls are coming up and asking how they can become umpires and host international matches, which is a very good story.”
While speaking about shifting the tournament from Oman to India, Raheja said,
“I would be lying if I said so (plans on hosting the second edition in India right from the very start). We had great success in Oman but we had a lot of fans for this event to be hosted in India. This is the 75th year of Indian independence and we felt as a league, we could support the celebrations by bringing the league to India. In the month of July we decided, if everything permits, we should be hosting it in India. And that’s exactly how the plan changed from Oman to India.”
Legends League to expand business at places with a huge fan following
The last time Jodhpur’s Barkatullah Khan Stadium hosted matches was in 2002. It was a match against West Indies and India. Since then, there was hardly any play over there. However, after that, they will be hosting the Legends League matches after the Cuttack leg. While speaking about choosing that stadium, Raheja said,
“We started from Kolkata, Lucknow, Delhi, Cuttack and now we would go to Jodhpur. Jodhpur has not hosted any international match for the last 20 years. That is the one objective that we want to promote the game, especially in the regions, where there are huge followers but there is limited cricket happening there. International cricket may not be possible to take into smaller centres regularly so we decided to support and compliment the active cricket, and that is how Jodhpur was selected.”
Our business model is about players who have retired: Raheja
Lastly, Raman Raheja spoke about the league focusing to bring more legends on board. He also doesn’t want to hamper the current ecosystem of cricket.
“Our business model is about players who have retired, we want to build an eco-system of those cricketers who do not get assignments like commentary or coaching but have done so much for the country or club cricket, those are the ones we want to rope in. Our business model revolves around that. It is about the entire ecosystem of the legends — be it umpires as well. We do not want to interfere with the current cricket system.”
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