Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is venturing into the business of fitness through a company co-founded along with his business manager Arun Pandey, that plans to invest around Rs 2,000 crore in the next five years.
The new firm, SportsFit World Pvt Ltd plans to open around 200 fitness centres under the SportsFit brand not only in India but also overseas, including Australia, Middle East, Singapore and the UK.
"The first four gyms will be launched in May. The plan is to set up a big chain of such fitness centres across India and international destinations where Dhoni has huge fan following," Rhiti Sports Management Promoter Arun Pandey said.
The company is currently exploring geographies like Australia, Middle East, Singapore and the UK.
Rhiti Sports currently manages Dhoni's brand endorsement deals.
On the planned investment for the venture, Pandey said it is up to Rs 2,000 crore and already a few overseas investors have already picked minority stake in SportsFit World. The majority equity is held by Pandey and Dhoni together.
"We have strong backing from several banks, who are ready to fund the project. Apart from that, a lot of other investors are showing keen interest in the venture," he added.
The first four gyms under 'SportsFit' brand will open in Gurgaon, Delhi, Chandigarh and Faridabad.
"To begin with, the fitness clubs will be operated by SportsFit World, but going ahead we might consider franchise options," he said.
Commenting on the marketing plans for the new venture he said: "Dhoni will be the face of the brand and an aggressive marketing campaign has been prepared to support the plan."
When asked about international launch Pandey said: "We will make announcement related to global foray at the time of launch of the first four gyms next month."
Dhoni is currently the face of around 25 brands and charges around Rs 5 crore per endorsement, according to industry estimates.
The brands endorsed by the Indian cricket captain include Reebok, Aircel and Godrej.