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Caribbean Premier League franchise boosted by US investment

US-based businessman Jignesh Pandya has struck a deal to acquire the St Lucia Zouks cricket franchise, which plays in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 competition.

Pandya is the founder of the Rohan Group of companies, a real estate venture based in Philadelphia. He is also the chairman of sports development companies Global Sports Ventures and Royal Sports Club.

Financial terms of Pandya’s takeover of the team, which reached the CPL Finals for the first time this year, were not disclosed.

“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,” CPL chief executive Damien O’Donohoe said.

“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.”

Pandya added: “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 energised crowds to come and watch matches live at stadiums across the Caribbean and the United States with the party-like atmosphere.”

Pandya said his aim was for the team to become CPL champions in the future. He added that he would seek further investment in the Caribbean through tourism projects and “other business opportunities that are available”.

Pandya last month committed to developing cricket in the US through a licensing agreement between Global Sports Ventures and the USA Cricket Association. The agreement is set to lead to the development of a franchise-based Twenty20 league in the country.