Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has confirmed that an IPL-style T20 tournament in Sri Lanka is in the offing, with the board stating that plans are underway to resurrect the Sri Lankan premier league later this year.
SLC, meanwhile, is looking at next month's Nidahas Trophy as a testing ground of sorts for maximising Sri Lankan cricket's international exposure, ahead of the launch of any domestic T20 league.
"We believe we have the best package, we've got the best formula, we've got the best position to present the next Lankan premier league," SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala said. "The Nidahas Trophy is going to give us that platform, the The Nidahas Trophy is going to give us the place where we have never ever seen our country's cricket being positioned in the global market."
The Nidahas Trophy, which is being held to commemorate Sri Lanka's 70th year of independence, will see Bangladesh and India take part alongside Sri Lanka in a T20 tri-series from March 6 to 18. As the tournament is outside of ICC's Future Tours Programme (FTP), for the first time since 2004 SLC have independently negotiated media and broadcasting rights. The series is expected to be broadcast in over 150 countries both terrestrially and digitally, resulting in the largest ever viewership for a tournament hosted by the SLC.
DSports and Channel 9 have been granted broadcasting and media rights for India and Bangladesh respectively, while ITW will be streaming the tournament live online to 150 countries.
"Digital markets have never been exploited by Sri Lanka before, but now we have secured the digital rights separately," Sumathipala said. "So we are getting worldwide, world-class platforms, taking Sri Lankan cricket into your mobile phone, into your home, in an unprecedented network of expansion.
"The territories and areas that we're going with this tournament we have never ever been to before. This tournament will be viewed, listened, and read by more than any tournament ever held in Sri Lanka. This tournament is going to have a huge presence globally, and as a result of that you will see more and more people will want to be partnering Sri Lankan Cricket in years to come."
Aiding SLC in this endeavour is sports marketing agency Lagard re Sports Asia, who, according to talks within the executive committee of SLC, may be retained for offering their services for any proposed Sri Lankan premier league.
"We're in discussions at the moment, but our matter in hand at the moment is the Nidahas Trophy, which we still have several aspects to finalise," Sumathipala said.