Cor­po­rate Hon­chos Put their Money on Poker League

PSL has started the qual­i­fy­ing rounds, both on­line and live, where play­ers can par­tic­i­pate to get drafted in the 12 teams

The Economic Times - - Brands: Creating Desire - Gau­rav.Laghate @times­group.com

Mum­bai: Poker Sports League (PSL), the first of its kind league launched by Amit Bur­man of Dabur, has roped in cor­po­rate chiefs as team own­ers ahead of its de­but sea­son.

ET was first to re­port that Bur­man, in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity, has joined hands with Anuj Gupta (founder of poker por­tal Adda52.com) and Pranav Ba­gai (founder of In­dia Poker Leg­end), to launch PSL as a 12team league.

The 12 teams will have a to­tal of 108 play­ers, who will play for the prize money of ₹ 3.36 crore. PSL has started the qual­i­fy­ing rounds -- both on­line (on Adda52.com) and live (on-ground) -- where play­ers can par­tic­i­pate to get drafted in the teams. The teams will be an­nounced on May 7, and the qual­i­fied play­ers will then com­pete to play at the mega fi­nals from May 24-28 in Goa. “PSL has got tremen­dous re­sponse from the cor­po­rate world. DELHI

Rishi Ka­jaria of Ka­jaria Ce­ram­ics Ruchi­rans Jaipuria of Jaipuria Group Ab­hishek Jain of Leela Jew­els

MUM­BAI

Me­hul Shah, Orig­i­nal Pro­moter of An­chor Elec­tri­cal

KOLKATA

Ankkit Bhadur of Play­boy North Taarun V Jain of Leg­end Group

CHEN­NAI

Girish Mathru­bootham, Co-Founder of FreshDesk Mithun Sa­cheti, Co-Founder of CaratLane

BEN­GALURU

Ku­nal Shah, Co-Founder of FreeCharge

HY­DER­ABAD

Amit Shah of IIFL-Wealth Karan Bhagat of IIFL-Wealth Yatin Shah of IIFL-Wealth

Within one month of an­nounce­ment, we got over 40 ap­pli­ca­tions for the re­main­ing five teams. The de­mand was as­tound­ing,” Ba­gai told ET.

He said that while in the first year, the fi­nal will be aired on dig­i­tal plat­forms, PSL or­gan­is­ers are also look­ing at mak­ing a 6-8 episodic re­al­ity show out of the league. “We will have an 18 cam­era setup in Goa, where dur­ing the grand fi­nale, team men­tors, and play­ers will be shar­ing their views, and all the ac­tiv­i­ties will be recorded. It will make for an in­ter­est­ing watch. We are in talks with mul­ti­ple TV chan­nels for the tele­cast rights,” said Ba­gai.

The pro­mot­ers have also started scout­ing for ad­ver­tis­ers and they hope to close the ti­tle spon­sor­ship for close to ₹ 1.5 crore.

As per the format, each team will have one men­tor or cap­tain, 2 pro­fes­sional play­ers which the own­ers will have to buy in the auc­tion. They can pick two play­ers each from on­line and live hunts and are al­lowed to bring two wild card play­ers, who can be from any­where.

Or­gan­is­ers will share 20% of the ad rev­enues with the fran­chisees, while the busi­ness model is such that top 3 teams will break even in a cou­ple of years.

“In the first year, PSL may lose some money, or just about break even, but this format will en­sure that fran­chisees will start mak­ing money within three years,” said Ba­gai.

A skill-based card game, Poker has got a siz­able fol­low­ing in In­dia. It is one of the most pop­u­lar mind sports across the globe and al­though a fair amount of luck is also in­volved in play­ing the game, a lot de­pends on pure skill, math­e­mat­ics, prob­a­bil­ity and de­ci­sion mak­ing strat­egy. “Game of poker au­gurs well for the large young pop­u­la­tion in In­dia,” said Roland Lan­ders, CEO at All In­dia Gam­ing Fed­er­a­tion, a not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion for pol­icy ad­vo­cacy on the is­sues sur­round­ing the gam­ing in­dus­try. He said that PSL is a good ini­tia­tive that will help the play­ers and broad-base the pop­u­lar­ity of the game among non-play­ers.

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