Cricekt marketing hotted up in the State with Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) on Wednesday announcing its plan to launch Odisha Premier League (OPL) on the line of Indian Premier League (IPL) on May. ``The inaugural edition, involving ten city or town-based teams and a total of 44 matches would take place from May 22 to June 12,'' OCA secretary Asirbad Behera disclosed in a media conference at Barabati Stadium here.

The 10 teams were short-listed out of 14 probables on the basis of higher bids by interested franchise owners on May 11. The 13 city or town-based teams include Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Puri, Angul, Keonjhar, Jharsuguda, Kendrapara, Dhenkanal, Jajpur and Balasore were participated in the bid.

Submission of bids by aspiring franchise owners started and closed on May 3 and 9 respectively. A bidder an apply for franchise of one or more teams in prescribed bid form. Bids opened on May 9 and successful bidders were signed an agreement with OCA along with payment of full bid price by May 11 and submit their logo and colour of team uniform by May 15.

The cost of bid form is Rs 5,000 and is nor refundable. A bid must accompany an EMD of Rs 1 lakh, which will be refunded to unsuccessful bidders. In case of successful bidders, the EMD will be adjusted against their bidding price. The base price for each franchise has been set as Rs 4 lakhs.

Each team will be composed of 18 players, one coach and one manager. Players will be graded in five categories. The base price of graded players has been fixed as Grade-A Rs 60,000, Grade-B Rs 30,000, Grade-C Rs 20,000, Grade-D Rs 10,000 and Grade-E (local players from catchment area) Rs 5,000.

Auction of players held at Barabati Stadium on May 13. Each franchise purchased graded players from A, B, C and D categories with a total price limit of Rs 7.4 lakhs and eight players from respective catchment areas. OCA will finalise the catchment area for respective teams.

In a match, a franchise can field maximum four players from Grade-A, four from Grade B, C or D and three from Grade-E. Franchise obligations will include paying DA @ Rs 300 per day to each player, manager and coach besides bearing the cost of their accommodation and transportation. Franchise owner will provide team uniform, featuring logos of OCA, title sponsor and their own.

OCA will provide lunch/dinner on match days, all prizes and awards. It will also bear the organising cost of matches, ground expenses and fees of match officials.

The ten teams in the fray would play home and away matches after being divided into two groups. After completion of group league matches, top two teams from each group would qualify for the semifinals. The opening match, two semifinals and the final will be played under lights at Barabati Stadium.

The champion team will get a cash prize of Rs 4 lakhs and the runners-up will be given Rs 2 lakhs. Cash prizes will also be there for man of the tournament, man of the match, highest run-getter and highest wicket-taker.

According to the OCA secretary, A T Housing has already become the title sponsor of OPL and OCA would earn RS 25 lakhs from that source.

A governing council for the OPL has been constituted with Tirupati Panigrahi as chairman and OCA secretary as convener. Members of the committee include Pradeep Sethi (title sponsor), Pratap Satpathy, Bankim Chandra Das, all office-bearers of OCA and district secretaries of the eight venue-based teams.

Profit generated from the OPL will be donated to government recognised orphanages of the state. ``Odisha will be the third state after Karnataka and Jharkhand to introduce the IPL-style event", said Behera.