By Nick Harris
8 December 2010
Kentaro is best known for event management, including arranging Brazil friendlies. It also had the rights to the first and only England pay-per-view match on the internet, against Ukraine last year.
Now the agency, which sportingintelligence has learned has been described as “like family” by Venkatesh Rao, the MD at Venky’s, the new ‘poultry tycoon’ owners of Blackburn, will have significant input as and when players are brought to Ewood Park.
We can reveal Venky’s have already invested £53m in the club, much more than previously reported; £23m was for the shares, and the family have stumped up another £30m, mostly to cover debt, with the balance (not huge) going into January’s kitty.
But despite Kentaro’s tie-up with the SEM stable that manages a famous client list including Thierry Henry, Rovers are unlikely to spend big immediately on fees, although they are prepared to invest heavily in wages to attract a ‘marquee’ Brazilian. “It’s about being sensible, not extravagant,” says one source. The Rao family hope to “grow” the Blackburn in the long term in India, where football is increasing in popularity.
The TV rights value of the Premier League shot up 80 per cent in the last round of sales, with ESPN Star paying almost double for 2010-13 what it paid in 2007-10.
One thing that won’t be troubling Venky’s is a complaint by the animal rights group, PETA, which has described Venky’s as “a company notorious for causing pain and suffering to millions of birds.”
PETA last got involved in a case of alleged bird cruelty in English sport when complaining about The All England Club marksmen culling pigeons at Wimbledon in 2008. (See photo here, third row down, left-hand side). One AEC source at the time thought PETA should “sod orf”; Blackburn’s new owners are believed to think along similar lines.