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American businessman Jignesh Pandya buys CPL franchise St Lucia Zouks
MUMBAI: The St Lucia Zouks franchise of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has been purchased by Philadelphia-based Jignesh ‘Jay’ Pandya.
Pandya is the founder of the Rohan Group of companies, a real estate venture with over 100 combined commercial and retail properties that employs in excess of 1,200 people. He currently also serves as the chairman of sports marketing firm Global Sports Ventures and Royal Sports Club.
The St Lucia Zouks was purchased by a Singapore-based company in 2013. The 2016 season was the Zouks’ most successful yet, with Daren Sammy’s St. Lucia-based side reaching the CPL finals for the first time.
CPL CEO Damien O’Donohoe said, “Today is a landmark day for the Zouks franchise, and indeed for the Hero CPL, and is further evidence of the growing stature of the biggest party in sport both in the Caribbean and internationally.
“Discussions have been ongoing with Mr. Pandya and his representatives for many months and they have a clear vision for the Zouks to elevate them even higher for the seasons to come in terms of recruitment and in building all aspects of the franchise, from root to branch. Their passion for the Hero CPL is obvious, with their values being closely aligned to our own to strive to be an innovative market-leader, and I have no doubt that these are exciting times to be a Zouks fan.
“The 2016 season was a ground-breaking one for Hero CPL, with the successful staging of six matches in Central Broward Stadium in Lauderhill, Florida helping to elevate the competition to new heights. As we build up to the 2017 campaign, I would like to welcome Mr. Pandya to the CPL family and wish him and his consortium well for the seasons to come.”
Outlining his vision for the Zouks franchise, Pandya said: “Our aim is to help drive the Zouks forward to become the dominant team in the CPL by producing consistent results that will enable us to be title contenders in every edition of CPL going forward.
“Royal Sports encounters numerous investment opportunities in the sporting businesses across North America and Europe, and one of the investments that really excited us was the CPL and we felt it was a great addition to our sports portfolio. One of the key reasons being CPL has shown fantastic growth since its inception and it has quickly grown to over 120 million television viewers in such a short period of time. It has energized crowds to come and watch matches live at stadiums across the Caribbean and the United States with the party-like atmosphere. It has definitely become the biggest party in sport and it was this, coupled with the fact that St Lucia Zouks has a strong fan following in St Lucia, which were the key factors in our investment decision.
“We are extremely happy that the management team, with Stuart Williams as our head Coach and Daren Sammy as our captain, have committed to remain with the franchise and will continue to lead it. Daren is a passionate St. Lucian who leads the side with great skill and charisma and is hugely respected internationally, especially after guiding the West Indies to their second ICC World T20 title in India earlier this year.
“Our executive directors are working closely with both Stuart and Daren in terms of player recruitment, the goal being to become champions of the CPL after missing out last year in the playoffs.
“CPL have worked closely with the governments, tourism boards and sponsors and we look forward to building on each of those relationships especially considering the direct contribution towards economies around the Caribbean made by CPL in terms of dollar spend. This is just our first investment into the Caribbean and we will continue to explore more investment options in terms of tourism and other business opportunities that are available.”