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Lalit Modi bats for IPL awards now
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MUMBAI: If one thought the Indian Premier League (IPL) was the only ace up Lalit Modi’s sleeve, you might have to think again. For, the man who’s made Twenty20 a million-dollar enterprise is now planning dedicated IPL cricket awards on the lines of the ICC awards.

The proposed awards will be unveiled before the tournament gets underway in South Africa and will be held after the event.

It is reliably learnt that the proposed venue for the awards will be in London as celebrity owners think the destination offers a good marketing proposition as compared to any other location.

If things work according to plan, one could see Brendon McCullum shaking a leg with Shahrukh Khan, or Yuvraj doing the bhangra with Preity Zinta, on stage as cricket and Bollywood would come together to offer a new dose of masala entertainment.

The league, it is learnt, will be selling the media rights for this event separately. The broadcasting rights for the IPL are currently with Multi Screen Media (MSM), formerly Sony Entertainment Television.

When contacted, IPL chief executive Sundar Raman told ET that many ideas were being discussed. “Nothing has been frozen as the awards are just one of the ideas on the cards,” he said. On whether the event will be held in London, Mr Raman said: “We will reach that stage if we decide to do the awards.”

The rationale for London is that the city has a huge Indian diaspora. The awards are expected to have 40 categories that will include the best bowler, batsman and fielder.

It is believed that celebrity owners want the event to be held in London. “The owners want to make the awards an event that will have performances by cricketers as well as Bollywood stars. And given the huge Indian diaspora there, they think London is a good marketing proposition,” sources said.

Even as the blueprint for the awards is being outlined, sources familiar with the development said IPL is looking at separate sponsors for the event. The media rights of the event will not go to MSM. “They are keeping quiet about it now and the management has not gone out to find sponsors,” sources said.

The reason for this is believed to be on the lines of waiting till the venue is finalised and getting commitments from cricketers to attend the event. “The event will have the star cricketers attending it. Also, the T20 world cup begins after the IPL and the players will be needed for national duty. So, the management and the respective team owners are trying to get a commitment from them.”

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