Tamil Nadu Premier League franchise owners decided

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

TNCA president N. Srinivasan along with the new franchise owners after the bidding in Chennai. Photo: K. Pichumani

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 5.21 crores.

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

TNCA president N. Srinivasan was present on the occasion, and took keen interest in the process.

It was also officially announced that STAR India will be the broadcaster for the competition that will 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 at Chennai, Natham and Tirunelveli. All three venues have floodlights.

“We expect the TNPL to be a big success,” said 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, which 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) took 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 while Chettinad Apparels (Rs. 3.3 crore) homed in on Karaikudi.

The player draft will be held towards the end of July with 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 root for their franchises.