Rohinton Soli Screwvala or ‘Ronnie’ Screwvala, as he is popularly known, has big plans in the offing. The media and entertainment entrepreneur is betting big on e-sports. The head of Unilazer Ventures has quite a few sporting aces up his sleeve.
Unilazer’s sports marketing division USports, besides gearing itself to launch Cypher the e-sports league in November, also owns the kabaddi franchise UMumba, promotes football and motorsports. There are plans to launch a movie on kabaddi, which Screwvala believes will take the sport to a different level and also help UMumba emerge as a brand.
USports – under the UDream Football banner - also scouts for football players from across the country and trains them in Germany. At the moment there are 50 under-15 players training and playing shoulder to shoulder with European and South American players. Screwvala wants to take that number up to 250 and the organisation is working towards that direction.
Ask him why kids have to be sent to Germany, and Screwvala is emphatic in his support of that decision which was dictated by cultural differences and the role of parents in India. If the kid gets bruised four days in a row, his parents will say ‘no, my kid is not coming - he is hurt. The culture and the discipline level is different - bruised or not, it is the physio who will decide what time you hit the ground and then you follow it.
At this stage, Screwvala is obsessed about only one thing when it comes to football - in the next five years 20 boys from India have to play in Europe for top European clubs. With e-sports, he smiles, we are exploring a very nascent sport which is doing well everywhere else.