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ICL announces $37 million prize money

The organisers of the revolutionary Indian Cricket League (ICL) as they would like to be identified pitched in $37 million (Rs 150 million) stocky amount of prize money for its inaugural Twenty20 championship.

In the opening match of the championship Delhi Jets will take on Chandigarh Lions at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium. The newly-floodlit venue has a capacity of about 7,000.

Announcing the multitude of the mega-event, Himanshu Modi, Zee Sports CEO said, "A handsome amount of $1 million (Rs 39 million) is in the offing for the champion of the six-team event."

The runners-up will get prize money of $470,000 (Rs 19 million), Modi said. The Essel group - promoters of the ICL - would spend around $25 million on the inaugural event.

A great deal of the sum has already been spent on refurbishing of the Tau Devi Lal cricket stadium here by turning it into the international standards and for disbursing the amounts of ICL signed players.

All six participating teams namely Mumbai Champs, Kolkata Tigers, Hyderabad Heroes, Chandigarh Lions, Delhi Jets and Chennai Superstars will get a part of the total prize money.

The money will flow to each team's kitty as teams coming third and fourth in the championship will fetch $370,000 (Rs 15 million) and $310,000 (Rs 12.5 million) respectively, while teams on the fifth and sixth place will get $250,000 (Rs 10 million) and $210,000 (Rs 8.5 million).

In addition each team winning a match would get $45,000 (Rs 1.87 million), while every Man of the Match award will get $9,400 (Rs 375,000).

The player of the tournament has got surprise in store as the organisers have decided to present something in kind rather than cash. It might be a luxury car or anything else.

"The most valuable player of the tournament will not get any cash reward but something in kind. We are yet to decide on that," Modi said.

There is a strong buzz in the air that some of the sponsors of the event have backed out of the event. "It is mere speculation that sponsors are not coming for the event or have withdrawn. We have Provogue, Thomas Cook and others who are sponsoring the event. More will follow, as the championship creates a market for itself," Modi explained.

The tournament faced lots of troubles on their way to make it happen but some how the determined organisers managed to pull it of nicely thus far. There were problems like getting a playing arena and eleventh-hour uncertainly over key international players like Brian Lara.

ICL have also roped in the Mumbai film industry stars to keep the entertainment level to the hilt with live performances by Bollywood actors Kareena Kapoor and Lara Datta, model Yana Gupta, singers Sunidhi Chauhan, Kailash Kher, Band of Boys and host of other entertainers.

Essel group executive vice-president Ashish Kaul said that the Twenty20 championship was being held despite the odds.

"We faced numerous hurdles on the way. We were faced with comments that who will ever play for the ICL. We have proved them wrong. 250 players have enrolled with us, including top international stars," Kaul said.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav will be the chief guests at the inauguration. Industrialist Anil Ambani would also be present at the event.

Each team consists of 19 to 20 players, of which, five are international cricketers. As per the schedule, each team will play around six to seven matches. The ICL will host 20 matches in the Twenty20 tournament in its inaugural season.

Zee Sports will telecast all matches live while 25 channels of the Zee network will show all matches live for 30 minutes on match days. The series will conclude on December 16.

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