Sony Six, the sports channel from Multi Screen Media, is experimenting with content offering by telecasting the relaunch of a state-level cricket tournament today. Based on the Indian Twenty20 cricket league format, the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) was launched by the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) in August, 2009. The domestic cricket competition is modelled along the lines of the popular Indian Premier League (IPL).
KPL 2014's title sponsor is Karbonn Mobiles. The second edition of the league was held in 2010 and it's coming back after four years. The matches were earlier aired on local cable networks. This is the first time that a national broadcaster has shown interest in the league and has decided to air it.
Talking about the rationale, Prasana Krishnan, business head, Sony Six says, "State leagues have been experimented in the past in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Karnataka but none of these leagues worked out back then. KPL was last played in 2010 and since then I feel the sports broadcasting in the country has matured. KSCA wants to revive the property and provide a platform for the young talent there. For us, we are experimenting with the format. Who knows if it succeeds, we'll find this a catalyst for the revival of local cricketing leagues."
Krishnan believes that cricket in India gets viewership, even if it's at state-level. IPL players like Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa are also part of this league.
The league is chaired by the KSCA secretary, Brijesh Patel, and includes six franchisee teams - Belagavi Panthers, Bellary Tuskers, Bijapur Bulls, Hubli Tigers, Mangalore United and Mysore Warriors, representing cities in Karnataka. One interesting part about the league is that it will have a team called 'All Stars team' which will feature popular faces like the actor Sudip. The idea is to generate interest for the KPL.
The third season will air from August 28-September 12. The matches will air at 1 pm and 5 pm if there are two a day. If just one is scheduled, it will air at 5 pm. For the record, the auction for the same was conducted on August 7.
Karnataka players past and present - Syed Kirmani, Erapalli Prasanna, Dodda Ganesh, Sunil Joshi, Robin Uthappa and B Akhil - welcomed the concept and hoped the KPL would provide a platform for players from the districts to showcase their skills and break into the State ranks, to start with, and beyond.
The tournament is being promoted on the MSM network as KSCA has partnered with Vijay Karnataka to promote the event at the state-level. The latter has also take significant outdoor space to market KPL.