Franchises, running in huge losses, demand changes in TNPL

One of the franchise owners lamented at the league’s inability to bring in outstation players was costing them dear.
One of the franchise owners lamented at the league’s inability to bring in outstation players was costing them dear. © Cricbuzz (with inputs from agencies)
The Tamil Nadu Premier League has – in its first three seasons – brought many talents to the fore. However, all is not well with the league. Five franchises have written to the TNCA asking for a host of changes to be made in the upcoming edition of the league.
In a letter to the TNCA on May 26 signed by the owners of Tuti Patriots, Lyca Kovai Kings, Siechem Madurai Panthers, Ruby Trichy Warriors and I Dream Karaikudi Kaalai – a copy which is with TOI – the franchises have raised concerns on the profitability, player availability and other aspects of the league. “We are concerned about the future viewership and proposed TRP for 2019 TNPL. None of us could find a single sponsor for 2019 TNPL as most of the India and IPL players from TN are not taking keen interest to play TNPL,” one of the points in the letter read.Outstation players’ participation in the league, quality of umpiring, matches being hosted in Tirunelveli and Natham (Dindigul) are among the other key issues addressed in the letter.One of the franchise owners lamented at the league’s inability to bring in outstation players was costing them dear. “Before bidding for the teams in 2016, we were promised that 3 outstation players could be registered and 2 of them will be allowed to feature in the playing XI. That has not seen the light of the day yet. We were also told that the gate collections and other revenues from the league will be in line with the IPL. That too hasn’t materialized,” he said.Another owner pointed out that the financial institutions that have loaned him questioned his business acumen while investing in the league. “My bankers are concerned that this league is not making us any money. We (the franchises) are bleeding with losses. The cost of running a TNPL team each year is around Rs 5 crore and the losses too are the same due to interest and other operational costs,” the owner revealed. TNCA – in its bid to take the game to smaller towns – has hosted matches in Tirunelveli and Natham from the inaugural season in 2016. The franchises, however, don’t see any benefit from this exercise. “Conducting TNPL matches there doesn’t help anyone as – barring Dindigul Dragons – none of the other teams share any connect with these places. Therefore, franchises face serious issues in getting the crowd and sponsorship,” the owner said.The franchises, in their letter, insist that TN players who represent India should be asked by the parent body to take part in the event. They also hope that the three outstation players issue will also be looked into so that the franchises are able to get more sponsors.

“All the teams suffered huge losses. Some suffered ranging from Rs 15-25 cr till date…Please do not insist any (franchise fee) payment for 2019,” the letter stated.

TNCA, on its part, declined to make any comment on this issue. “We have not received any letter as of now,” a TNCA official told TOI.