Home / Industry / Backed by N Srinivasan, Tamil Nadu gets its own Premier League

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) president and former BCCI chief N. Srinivasan on Thursday announced the launch of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) in Chennai.

“The main idea behind TNPL is to bring cricket to the districts of Tamil Nadu and explore local talent," said N.Srinivasan, TNCA president and managing director of India Cements Ltd.

The eight franchises (representing districts) for the TNPL that will begin in the fourth week of August are Karaikudi, Dindigul, Kanchipuram, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tiruvallur, South Chennai, Thoothukudi.

The TNPL will see 27 matches being played across three centres including Chennai, Natham and Tirunelveli. “Next year, we intend to take the tournament to more rural centres," P.S. Raman, chairman of the TNPL told Mint over the phone.

The three-week long tournament will see eight teams being split into two zones of four each, and will play each other twice, with the top two from each group qualifying for the semi-final.

“We also want some of our cricketers, who will be out on national duty (R. Ashwin, Murali Vijay), available for the start of the tournament. We have also pushed some of our own tournaments, like the Buchi Babu Invitational Tournament to a later date," Raman said.

Thoothukudi Sports & Entertainment Pvt Ltd was the highest bidder at Rs5.21crore followed by Metronation Chennai Television Pvt. Ltd which bought the Chennai team (Rs5.13 crore). Coimbatore team was bought by Lyca Productions Pvt. Ltd for Rs5.01crore.

Kothari (Madras) Ltd will own the Madurai team at Rs4.001 crore, Ruby Builders and Promoters (Rs3.69 crore) will be the Kancheepuram team and VB Cricket Academy (Rs3.48 crore) has bought the Thiruvallur team.

While Take Solutions Ltd (Rs3.42 crore) will back the Dindugal team, Chettinad Apparels Pvt. Ltd (Rs3.3crore) bagged the franchise for Karaikudi team.

The winners of the TNPL will have prize money of Rs1 crore and the runners-up will receive Rs60 lakh. The semi-final teams will each receive prize money of Rs40 lakh each and the remaining teams will receive Rs25 lakh.

The TNCA has earned a total of Rs33.51 crore in franchise rights.

“This is the highest among the local T20 leagues in the country," said Raman.

The broadcast rights are with Star India for Rs7.1 crore for at least five years.

Raman also added that the TNCA will formally approach the BCCI to allow players from other states to play in the league. Last month, Indian first-class cricketers, such as Rajat Bhatia, Manvinder Bisla and Uday Kaul, were allowed to play in the Dhaka Premier League, a 50-over club cricket tournament organized in Bangladesh.

The TNCA has launched this new cricket tournament at a time when Chennai Super Kings is facing a two-year suspension from the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“One season without CSK is over, just one year left. CSK will come in after a year without any intervention," said Srinivasan.

Out of the 22 bidders for the eight teams, 17 had taken part in the bidding process. The minimum bid price was set at Rs1.25 crore per franchise.

Raman also made it clear that no member of TNCA could participate in the bidding process. “One of our vice-presidents, Albert Muralidhar, resigned from his post in the last executive committee meeting to participate in the process, as he was part of Thoothukudi Sports, a winning franchise."

A look at some of the bidders

Kothari (Madras) International Ltd: A subsidiary of the Chennai-based Kothari industrial Corp. Ltd. The group, which runs a textile business, among others, is closely related to the Ambanis.

Lyca Productions: A Chennai-based movie production and distribution company. The production house was allegedly reported to be connected to former Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa and faced opposition from several pro-Tamil pressure groups during the release of actor Vijay-starrer Kaththi in 2014. Subaskaran Allirajah, who owns Lyca Productions is a Sri Lankan Tamil businessman and is the founder and chairman of the Lycatel and Lycamobile groups of companies.

Take Solutions: A Chennai-based company that is into life sciences and supply chain.

Metronation Chennai Television Pvt Ltd: The company runs the Tamil news channel Thanthi TV. New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) and Kasturi and Sons Ltd (publisher of The Hindu newspaper) sold their joint venture Metronation Chennai Television Ltd to Educational Trustee Company Pvt Ltd, for Rs15 crore in 2011. This media group runs the Tamil daily Dina Thanthi.

Chettinad Apparels Pvt. Ltd: The owner of the Karaikudi team is backed by the Chettinad Cements group.

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