Eight franchise owners for inaugural TNPL spotted

A total of 27 matches will be played in Chennai, Natham and Tirunelveli. All three venues have floodlights.

N.Srinivasan, President, TNCA, addressing the media.   -  K. Pichumani

It was a busy morning for the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA). By late Thursday afternoon the officials were smiling.

The franchise owners of the eights teams in the inaugural Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) Twenty20 tournament had been decided. And the TNCA emerged considerably richer.

While the base price for a franchise was Rs. 1.25 crore (per year), the lowest successful bid, by Chettinad Apparels Pvt. Ltd., fetched TNCA Rs. 3.3 crore.

And the highest bid, by Thoothukudi Sports and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. headed by Albert Muralidharan, was worth a whopping Rs. 5.21 crore.

As many as 22 tenders were purchased but a lesser number, 17, actually bid for the franchises. In all, the TNCA got Rs. 33 crore — 3.3 times the minimum bid amount — from the exercise.

The TNCA President N. Srinivasan, who was present on the occasion, took keen interest in the process.

It was also officially announced that Star India would be the broadcaster for the competition that would begin in the last week of August and continue till the second week of September. The deal will be worth between Rs. 7.2 and 10 crore for the first year, and eight to 12 in the second, based on certain calculations.

A total of 27 matches will be played in Chennai, Natham and Tirunelveli. All three venues have floodlights.

“We expect the TNPL to be a big success,” said the TNCA vice-president and the newly appointed chairman of TNPL, P. S. Raman.

The franchise representatives were allowed to pick the names of districts or towns, excluding Chennai, for their teams. Thoothukudi Sports, the top bidder, was given the first choice. It chose Thoothukudi.

Metronation Chennai Television, that owns Thanthi TV, was the second highest bidder at Rs. 5.13 crore and it will choose a suburb from South Chennai.

Lyca Productions (Rs. 5.01 crore) picked Coimbatore, and Kothari (Madras) Ltd (Rs. 4.001 crore) opted for Madurai. Ruby Builders (Rs. 3.69 crore) settled for Kancheepuram.

Former India player V. B. Chandrasekar (Rs. 3.48 crore), the lone cricketer among the franchise owners, zeroed in on Thiruvallur. “As a former cricketer I know that TNPL will be an excellent competition for spotting talent,” he said.

Take Solutions (Rs. 3.42 crore) named Dindigul and its choice while Chettinad Apparels (Rs. 3.3 crore) homed in on Karaikudi.

The player draft will be held towards the end of July with the franchise bidding the highest having the first choice on a particular cricketer, followed by the second highest bidder and the rest in that order.

The eight franchises will be divided into two groups of four teams each. Every side will get to play a minimum of six matches.

Twenty20 action featuring top Tamil Nadu players will give the fans a chance to witness a hectic brand of cricket and root for their franchises.

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