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Star upbeat about local leagues, laps up broadcast rights for Tamil Nadu Premier League

MUMBAI: Demonstrating its appetite for local leagues, Star India has bagged the broadcast rights for the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), a franchise-based T20 tournament formed on the lines of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Star will pay Rs 7.1 crore (Rs 71 million) for the rights. The broadcaster was the only bidder for the five-year rights cycle. Star will have English and Tamil feeds for the league.

Incidentally, Star India owns and operates a Tamil general entertainment channel called Vijay TV. The company has also got licence from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) to launch regional sports channels in Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, Telugu and Malayalam. The ministry has awarded licences to the broadcaster to launch Star Sports Tamil, Star Sports Marathi, Star Sports Bengali, Star Sports Malayalam, and Star Sports Telugu in standard definition (SD) as well as high definition (HD).

The N Srinivasan-led Tamil Nadu Cricket Association has revealed the names of the eight franchises of the tournament.

Thoothukudi Sports and Entertainment bagged the Thoothukudi franchise for Rs 5.21 crore (Rs 52.1 million). Incidentally, the company was the highest bidder.

Metronation Chennai Television, which bagged the South Chennai team for Rs 5.13 crore (Rs 51.3 million), was second-highest bidder. The company runs Tamil news channel Thanthi TV. Started as a joint venture between NDTV and Kasturi & Sons (publisher of The Hindu newspaper, Metronation was sold in 2011 to Educational Trustee Company for Rs 15 crore (Rs 150 million).

The Coimbatore franchise was bought by Lyca Productions, a Chennai-based movie production and distribution company, for Rs 5.01 crore (Rs 50.1 million). Promoter Subaskaran Allirajah is a Sri Lankan businessman and is the chairman of the Lycatel and Lycamobile group of companies.

The Madurai franchise went to Kothari Madras International for Rs 4.001 crore (Rs 40 million). A subsidiary of the Chennai-based Kothari Industrial Corp, the group runs a textile business.

Ruby Builders and promoters bought the Kancheepuram franchise for Rs 3.69 crore (Rs 36.9 million).

Former Indian cricketer VB Chandrasekhar’s VB Cricket Academy has taken the Thiruvallur team for Rs 3.48 crore (Rs 34.8 million).

Chennai-based Take Solutions, which is into life sciences and supply chain, bagged the Dindugal franchise for Rs 3.42 crore (Rs 34.2 million).

Chettinad Apparels, backed by the Chettinad Cements group, bought the Karaikudi franchise for Rs 3.3 crore (Rs 33 million).

The TNCA has mopped up an impressive Rs 33.24 crore (Rs 332.4 million) by auctioning the eight franchises.

The bidding process saw 22 prospective bidders showing interest in the league, while 17 took part in the bidding process.

“This is important for Tamil Nadu. There are two aspects to it. One is Tamil Nadu players can showcase their talent so that the IPL teams or any other team can look at them and take interest and give them a future. The other aspect is that this will help develop cricket in the districts of Tamil Nadu. Instead of cricket being urban and confined to Chennai, this will take cricket to the nook and corner of Tamil Nadu, which is very good,” said TNCA president and former BCCI chief N Srinivasan.

There will be eight teams and a total of 27 matches will be played. Kicking off during the fourth week of August, the inaugural edition of the TNPL will have matches played in Chennai, the India Cements Ground in Tirunelveli and Natham (Dindugal).

The launch of the TNPL comes at a time when the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is facing a two-year suspension from the IPL. “At the moment we don’t have an IPL team in Chennai. But one season has already gone. Just one more to go. CSK will be back automatically,” said Srinivasan.

The Tamil Nadu cricket association will approach the BCCI to allow players from other states to play in the league.

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