Sri Lanka Cricket chief Upali Dharmadasa is upbeat on raising cash through the sale of franchises and sponsorships ahead of the estimated 1.7 million dollar tournament that will be played atthe R. Premadasa in Colombo and Pallekele in Kandy.
"Lots of people have shown interest. I am sure lots of the big corporations will support us. For instance we have seen Singer Sri Lanka showing keen interest to get back into sports sponsorship," Dharmadasa told reporters on Tuesday.
There was no immediate comment from the centuries owned Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC, while millionaire businessman Dharmadasa, did not say if he himself will own a franchise.
Under a fresh 15-year deal inked with Singapore-based Somerset Entertainment Ventures this month, cash-strapped Sri Lanka Cricket will get 300,000 dollars each year to host the tournament. They also get 50 percent of the royalties from franchise sales.
Somerset Entertainment Ventures, which owns the commercial rights for the tournament, will pay for the foreign players and pick-up cash from selling broadcasting rights.The success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has led to similar Twenty20 leagues being played in Bangladesh and Australia. In its fifth-edition, IPL combines cricket and entertainment, with television ratings attracting a wide audience.
Attempts to launch the SLPL last July, was aborted midway, after financial powershouse, India barred its players. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) alleged that Somerset had links to the disgraced former IPL chief LalithModi, which Sri Lanka and Modi denied.
The SLPL tournament was to be questioned by the Parliament's Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE).Dharmadasa said all such controversy regarding the tournament had been cleared by COPE.
Sri Lanka Cricket Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said the governing body has ironed out issues with India and hoped other foreign cricket boards will also allow their players to feature in the SLPL.
The 24-match tournament comes just weeks ahead of the World Twenty20 tournament which opens in Sri Lanka on September 18.
"It will be a good opportunity for players from other countries to familiarise themselves with the Sri Lankan conditions ahead of the World T20," Ranatunga said.
Dharmadasa's team, which was elected in January, incurred millions of debt, after the previous governing body, built two new cricket grounds and renovating another to co-host the 2011 World Cup, with India and Bangladesh.