afaqs!

Rakhi Sawantisation of ICL

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | October 03, 2008
ICL has roped in Rakhi Sawant to lead its cheerleading group, ICL Zebras. Many other celebrities are joining the bandwagon and increasing the 'cricketainment' factor

If BCCI's & #BANNER1 & # Indian Premier League (IPL) had the star value of Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta, the second season of Essel Group's Indian Cricket League (ICL) has the oomph queen, Rakhi Sawant waiting to break into a jig every time someone hits a four. ICL has roped in Rakhi Sawant to lead its cheerleading squad, ICL Zebras.

Talking to afaqs! about selecting Sawant, Shariq Patel, senior V-P, marketing and operations, ICL says, "She has come up the hard way and is a very good dancer. Rakhi fits the overall package perfectly. We could not think of a better person than her to mentor the girls."

The squad comprises eight other cheerleaders: Ritika, Preeti, Jessica, Geeta, Richa, Sharvari, Jayshree and Sangeeta. They will perform across all the match venues of Gurgaon, Panchkula, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. The girls were personally auditioned and handpicked by Sawant. Their performances will be composed by Prakash, a Mumbai-based choreographer.

Shariq Patel
In order to increase the glam quotient of the event, ICL has roped in other celebrities as well. While Mithun Chakraborthy is promoting Royal Bengal Tigers, South Indian superstar, Vishnu Manchu is for Hyderabad Heroes and Pakistan's superstar, Mamoor Rana is behind Lahore Badshahs.

Actor Aarti Chhabria and cricketer Atul Wasan will host a studio based talk show. "We have an interesting television show lined up, which will deal with the other side of the cricket -- the humane side," informs Patel.

The second season of ICL will have 41 matches across four venues, that is, Hyderabad, Panchkula, Gurgaon and Ahmedabad. The opening ceremony will take place in Hyderabad on October 10.

Rohit Roy is stipulated to host the opening ceremony of the event. The League will not only have Bollywood tadka, but will also have an international flavour, with some offbeat performances during the opening ceremony.

The officials are leaving no stone unturned to ensure maximum TVR for the tournament. A 360-degree campaign has been planned for the promotion, with occasional surprise elements in the form of celebs lined up to grab more eyeballs. The officials are expecting revenues of Rs 120 crore from this season.

According to well placed sources, the ad rate for a 10-seconds slot is around Rs 1.75 lakh.

The television and outdoor campaigns for the event have already been launched. Radio promotions have gone on air from October 2. The internet campaign will soon follow suit.

From emphasis on teams to individual players, there is a shift in the focus of ICL this season, in order to build human drama. The management has decided to profile each new player, to build an element of familiarity for the audiences, when they watch the players on the field. The new initiative focuses on 'Cricket Hai Meri Life' and depicts the real life stories of ICL's players.

ICL is spending around Rs 50 crore on the marketing campaign. Another Rs 10 crore has been spent on renovating Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad.

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