Preparations on for smooth conduct of CBL: Minister

Nine franchises will battle it out for honours in the Champions Boat League (CBL), patterned on the lines of the hugely popular IPL, to be held at Alappuzha on August 10.

The country's first-ever boat league, a water-based boat racing event, would be held on the sidelines of the famed Nehru Trophy boat race.

The State Tourism Department, in a release, said Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would flag off the event on August 10, in the presence of Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.

"Every detail has been worked out meticulously for the hassle-free conduct of the event. The preparations are moving to the final stages," Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said at a press conference to give details about the structure and schedule of the three-month-long event.

He launched the website www.championsboatleague.in and jerseys for the oarsmen of the nine teams, besides unveiling the trophy of CBL and releasing a promo video of the event.

The nine teams for the first edition of the boat race will be put up for bidding for franchisee acquisition at Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty on August 1, the Minister said.

The initiative, is expected to give a fillip to the state's famous but scattered snake boat races by professionalising and commercialising the event on the lines of IPL.

A total prize money of Rs 5.9 crore is on offer in the CBL, which makes it the fourth highest in all sports in India, a release issued by the Tourism department said.

"The first three winners of each match will get Rs 5 lakh, Rs 3 lakh, and Rs 1 lakh respectively. Moreover, all participants will get a bonus cash prize of Rs 4 lakh for each match," the release said.