Kerala Tourism postponed the auction for franchisee acquisitions of the inaugural edition of Champions Boat League (CBL) to give more time to ensure enhanced participation, but all the CBL-format boat races would be held as per the schedule from August 10 to November 1.
Rani George, Secretary – Tourism, Govt of Kerala said that that fresh auction would be organised later. Till that time, all the teams would be owned by the Tourism Department and that all the CBL boat races would be conducted strictly as per the IPL format and the laid down rules. "We are overwhelmed by the response of boat clubs and boat owners. The department strongly feels that this is a sport for the people and by the people," George said.
She said out of the 11 prospective franchisees who took the bid document, many of them could not attend today's bid. "Hence, we postponed the auction to a later date to ensure participation of more investors."
“The boat races of the CBL will be televised by our national broadcast partner. We believe it will also trigger more interest among the prospective bidders. This is a new product being held on the IPL format of cricket. Therefore, more time needs to be given to franchisees to study the product and be convinced of its professional moorings and commercial benefits,” she added.
P Bala Kiran, Director, Kerala Tourism said the Tourism Department would revisit the financial model of CBL and present it before the franchisees before the next round of auction. The bidding for nine teams (boats) was scheduled to be held at Grand Hyatt here on August 1.
Bala Kiran said all arrangements have been put in place for the spectacular three months long CBL, which will witness nine teams participating in 12 races across 12 locations on 12 weekends, from August 10 coinciding with the Nehru Trophy Boat Race and concluding with President’s Trophy Boat Race in Kollam on the state’s Formation Day (November 1).
The nine teams participating in the CBL are Pallathuruthi Boat Club; Police Boat Club; United Boat Club, Kuttamangalam, Kainakary; NCDC/Kumarakam; Village Boat Club, Edathua; KBC/SFBC, Kumarakam; Vembanad Boat Club, Kumarakam; Town Boat Club, Kumarakam; and Brothers Boat Club, Edathua.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will flag off the event on August 10, on the sidelines of the famed Nehru Trophy Boat Race at Alappuzha, in the presence of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.
The Tourism Department has formed a self-sustaining and income generating company – CBL Limited – to run the annual event. An agency consortium, led by E factor Entertainment and The Social Street, has been selected as consultants. It had invited bids from aspiring franchisees last month. The auction was to be held in Kochi on July 29, but it was postponed to August 1.