ESS to telecast Indian hockey league Tier 1 matches live

MUMBAI: The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), India's apex hockey body, today announced that the proposed domestic hockey league it is setting up in association with Kolkata-based Leisure Sports Management would be called 'Indian Premier Hockey League' (PHL).

The federation also announced that Hyderabad will host Tier'I PHL matches at the SAAP (Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh) Stadium in Gachibawli and that all Tier 1 matches will be telecast live and exclusive on ESPN and Star Sports (ESS).

According to IHF Honorary general secretary K Jothikumaran, The name Indian Premier Hockey League has been jointly developed with our partners ESS and LSM. The name lends the gravity to the tournament befitting a game of national importance and a game, which every Indian would like to see gain national importance. Along with our partners we are in the process of developing a distinct identity for the league in terms of a separate logo and so on. The Indian Premier Hockey League or the PHL, as we foresee the league will commonly be known as, will usher in an era of dynamism and popularity for Indian hockey. The concept of PHL has been developed after a lot of deliberations and discussions over the last two years with our associates ESS and LSM. Hockey fans can expect an innovative, interesting and first of kind hockey tournament in India."

"At this juncture, I must congratulate the Hyderabad Hockey Association for the hard work they have put in for Hyderabad to be selected as the host city of Tier-I games in the inaugural year. The state of the art Gaachibawli stadium will be a fitting venue for the spectacle. I am hopeful that PHL will inspire more and more players to pick up hockey and shine at the international level," added Jothikumaran.

ESS Asia vice president event management group and programme development Richard Young said, "We are proud to be associated with India's national game. ESS has taken up the huge task of telecasting the Indian Premier Hockey League live and exclusive, which will require a lot of planning and resources. With our experience of producing popular leagues like the English Premier League, we are confident of giving Indian viewers a television property, which will be exciting to watch and a world-class product."

"ESPN Star Sports will be conducting a complete reconnaissance of the stadium, which is already in great shape, to ensure that the stadium is telecast-ready for the LIVE and exclusive telecast. We look forward to working with the IHF, the Hyderabad Hockey Association and the other state hockey associations in making this event a grand success," he added.

Launched with an objective of developing and popularising hockey in the country, PHL will offer prize money of over Rs 71 lakh. Kolkata based sports management company, Leisure Sports Management (LSM), will handle on-ground activities.

LSM chairman and MD S S Dasgupta said, "LSM with its in-depth knowledge and involvement with the Indian hockey is very confident that the proposed tournament will be a grand success. This is a well thought of strategic initiative conceptualised after a lot of research and hard work. We are committed to offer an international quality experience for fans of hockey."

The league would be a bonanza for the hockey fans in Hyderabad. The Hyderabadis will see non-stop action every weekend starting September later this year. Leading national and some of the best international players will be seen in action at the PHL.

Innovations have been introduced in the PHL to increase viewer interest in the game. For instance, each game will have four quarters of 17 minutes and 30 seconds each, instead of the two halves. New concepts of time-outs have also been introduced in order to liven up the game. The winner within the stipulated time will get three points for each victory while the team winning in the extra time will share the points 2:1.

Tier I teams in the inaugural year include Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jalandhar and Mumbai. Tier II teams will be Chandigarh, Delhi, Imphal, Kolkata and Lucknow.

The winner of the Tier I will take home Rs 30 lakh while the runners up will carry Rs 10 lakh. The winner of Tier II will get Rs four lakh while the runner up will receive Rs 2.5 lakh. Allocation of above prizes between players and the respective associations shall be specified by IHF.

The Indian Premier Hockey League will be hosted at the SAAP Stadium.

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