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Sony teams up with Balaji for sports reality show

MUMBAI: Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has teamed up with Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms and Marinating Films for a sports reality show titled ‘Box Cricket League’ (BCL).

The show, which marks Balaji’s entry into sports reality genre, is also the first television-centric property based on a unique format of sports reality that promises to offer a fusion of entertainment, celebrities and cricket.

Balaji Telefilms and Marinating Films jointly own the IP rights to BCL. The concept was ideated by Marinating Films which is owned by Sunny Arora and Anand Mishra.

BCL has eight teams, comprising 120 popular television celebrities who will compete against each other playing a total of 19 matches of 14 overs each. The eight city teams in BCL are Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune.

Each team will comprise 11 active on-ground players and at least 20 players in total per team. The eight competing teams are mostly owned/mentored by top celebrities.

The first season of BCL will be aired from December onwards on SET.

Balaji Telefilms joint managing director Ekta Kapoor said, “For the very first time, leading Indian television stars across India come together, on one platform, for one single show. BCL will be implemented at a tremendous scale with eight teams across eight Indian cities comprising 150 TV actors and actresses, and is set to be an extremely thrilling concept packed with great entertainment value.

“Television entertainment has been the foundation stone for Balaji since its inception. We’ve moved from strength to strength capturing the imagination of viewers across top GECs and youth channels alike, while creating content in multiple genres including historical, new-age social dramas and crime. With BCL, I believe we have taken another leap of content innovation offering entertainment in a new format for audiences as well as a win-win proposition for all our partners.”

Balaji Telefilms group CEO Sameer Nair said, “TV content is a business with unique dynamics and rapidly altering audience demography. This is an opportunity that illustrates Balaji’s ability to constantly innovate, adapt and present exciting, entertainment-packed themes to audiences. The launch of BCL in a sports reality category is in line with our aim to grow our business capitalizing on our strengths and content innovation capabilities.

“BCL presents a unique mix of entertainment, drama, a huge variety of celebrity presence across India, all inter-woven with the theme of cricket as a connecting sport where actors and actresses will battle in an indoor ‘Box Cricket League’. BCL has garnered exciting response from industry partners, broadcasters and leading advertisers across the country.”

SET senior EVP and business head Nachiket Pantvaidya said, “We are very happy to be associating with Balaji Telefilms and Marinating Films for a unique concept like the ‘Box Cricket League’. This is four weeks of differentiated offering which will provide alternative content to viewers of GEC. I am sure our viewers will enjoy this unique combination of entertainment and cricket to the fullest.”

All the teams will be divided into two groups, A and B. Each team in Group A will play against each team of Group B, leading to four teams qualifying for the semi-finals. The winner will then compete in a high-octane final for the coveted trophy.

Matches will commence with a face-off between the two playing teams, where they will perform signature moves on their team anthem. Giving the mundane coin toss a skip, BCL has introduced a ‘filmy toss’ with options like ‘Jai or Veeru’, ‘Basanti or Dhanno’.

Upping the glam quotient will be two BCL titlis, Noorin Shah and Vrushika Mehta, who will perform acts during time-outs and the ball change. Making the game more entertaining, viewers will also get to see behind-the-scenes action, locker-room gossips and some extremely creative awards like Gentleman of the Match and Most Stylish Player of the Match, etc.

To step up the excitement, during the sixth and 10th overs, the batting captain will challenge the bowling captain to hit a certain number of runs in a single over with a particular bowler. If they manage to hit the number of runs they have challenged them for, then they earn double the runs. If not, they will lose the number of runs they challenged the bowling team. The seventh over will also see a ball change procedure where the players can strategise their next game plan.

Marinating Films director Sunny Arora said, “BCL will change the way people look at the game of cricket. My vision is that after Season 1 of BCL, young girls will pick up bat and ball and start playing.”

Marinating Films director Anand Mishra added, “In a first, both male and female stars will be playing on-field together, catapulting the drama and entertainment to new heights.”