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Rediff.com  » Business » Bisleri may be ICL's first big sponsor

Bisleri may be ICL's first big sponsor

August 21, 2007 05:10 IST

Subash Chandra's Indian Cricket League is poised to win its first major advertiser, bottle water maker Bisleri International, as one of the key sponsors of the league.

There will be three other key sponsors, at least one of these is expected to be announced in five days. There may also be seven associate partners.

While key sponsors may be shelling out about Rs 5 crore each, the associates will pay Rs 1.5-2.5 crore each. ICL is said to be also looking for a team sponsor, who may be required to pay over Rs 4 crore.

The newly-created league, say sources, is open to any new initiatives with players under the ICL banner, which implies that it is open to players being contracted by advertisers for product launches and ground activations.

"We are in talks with ICL," confirmed a Bisleri International executive.

Sources say the deal is likely to be clinched at a fraction of the rate charged for cricket matches controlled by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

"The sponsorship prices are at a discounted rate. The actual worth of the ICL property is three times higher," said an executive.

Chandra's breakaway league kicks off in October this year with a tournament of 20-overs-a-side matches. Then there will be 50-overs-a-side matches and three-day matches. The prize money is $1 million (Rs 4.2 crore).

At a news conference in Mumbai today, ICL announced the names of 51 cricketers who have signed three-year contracts. It's not official, but it's said that they will earn between Rs 60 lakh and Rs 90 lakh during the period of the contract.

A talent search committee comprising of ICL executive board members Kapil Dev, Sandeep Patil, Kiran More, Madan Lal, and others, have selected the players from across the country.

Among the players who have signed up for the league are Dinesh Mongia, Reetinder Singh Sodhi, J P Yadav, Deep Das Gupta, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, T Kumaran and Ambati Rayudu.

"These 51 players will join the six teams of the inaugural Indian Cricket League. They will be provided with necessary infrastructure, guidance and training," said Himanshu Mody, project head, Indian Cricket League.

A bunch of international cricketers has also been roped in. They include Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf, who is at the peak of his career having broken Vivian Richards' long-standing record for the maximum Test runs in a calendar year in 2006, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Imran Farhat and Abdul Razzaq. Former South African all-rounders Lance Klusener and Nicky Boje have also signed up. Each of them would be drawing nearly Rs 9 crore.

BCCI, on the other hand, pays its players about Rs 20,000 for every domestic match. And for international matches, they earn Rs 35 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore.

However, BCCI has recently introduced a new structure according to which players will be paid based on the number of matches India wins internationally.

Aminah Sheikh and Pallavi Jha in Mumbai
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