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Hampshire County Cricket Club

The 20 20 Cricket Cup, a major new addition to the cricket season - will get underway on 13 June 2003 with the launch match between south-coast rivals Hampshire and Sussex at the Rosebowl.

The action-packed competition, which replaced the Benson & Hedges Cup in the domestic calendar, will feature two weeks of group matches between the 18 counties - and an exciting finals day in July at Edgbaston.

npower were confirmed as the first official partner of the 20 20 Cricket Cup, with Philips unveiled as a sponsor of the competition and Nectar as a marketing partner.

Each match promises non-stop big-hitting entertainment for 20 overs a side, lasting under three hours and played from 5.30pm-8.15pm - making them an ideal summer evening out for children, families and office parties alike.

There will also be an exciting entertainment package at match venues including music, promotions and quality food and beverage offerings, plus a variety of interactive activities for the kids.

All 45 group matches - the 18 First Class Counties are split into three groups of six teams each - will be played over a 12-day period, thus intentionally scheduling the competition around the longest days of the year. Essex and Sussex may stage floodlit 20 20 Cricket Cup matches in the group stages, and the timings for any such matches will be confirmed in due course.

All Counties are guaranteed a minimum of two 20 20 Cricket Cup matches at home. The winners of each of the three groups and the best-performing runner-up will progress to a finals day, at which both semi-finals and the final will be played.

The tournament will be covered on TV by Sky and Channel 4, and by BBC Radio - capturing the unique atmosphere of a new fast-paced concept where every ball will count.

Sky Sports will broadcast a minimum of six group matches live as well as the three matches on finals day; Channel 4, meanwhile, will broadcast at least one match live and the highlights of the Final, plus prominent coverage of the competition in their weekly magazine programme. BBC Radio are planning extensive coverage on their regional and local stations in addition to live ball-by-ball coverage of the 20 20 Cricket Cup Final on Radio Five Live and both 20 20 Cricket Cup semi-finals on Five Live Extra.

A new prize money structure will be implemented to encourage both team victories and individual performances. The 20 20 Cricket Cup champions will receive £42,000, the runners-up will get £21,000 and the losing-semi-finalists £10,000. Extra incentives will also be made to the best performing individuals with cash prizes of up to £1,500 going to the best performing batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders.