Premier Handball League set for December 24 kick off

The organisers have roped in six franchises – one each from Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal – and a player draft is scheduled later this week.

PHL Sports India-owned Premier Handball League (PHL) is set to kick off on December 24 in Jaipur even as most Indian sporting leagues have been postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The organisers have roped in six franchises – one each from Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal – and a player draft is scheduled later this week.

Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has come on board as broadcast partner for three years, while Airtel, Jio TV, Sony LIV and Fancode have signed as OTT partners.


The league also has got Dream11 as the online gaming partner for three years.

“We have been incubating the handball league for close to two years,” said Mrinalini Sharma, copromoter of PHL Sports India. “We feel there is immense potential in handball, which is one of the fastest growing emerging sports in the country.”

Handball is an Olympic sport and India’s current world ranking is 32, much better than in many other global sports.
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For the first three years, league owners will have end-to-end control over organisation, production and player cost and the owners will have to spend Rs 1 crore each year, all inclusive.

This will include Rs 60 lakh as franchise fee, Rs 25 lakh for player-fee and remaining Rs 15 lakh for lodging and boarding and other expenses.

The league owners intend to keep the cost low, and add at least two teams per year to take the final count to 12, said Manu Agrawal, copromoter, PHL Sports India.

“All the franchisees will get a share from the central revenue pool and they will have the sponsorships as well as licensing and merchandising opportunities. In two years, they should be able to recover the cost and breakeven,” Agrawal said.
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After three years, the company is planning to change the format and go for player auction, as well as home and away format.

In the beginning, there will be a player draft and all the matches will be played in one city.
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The inaugural season will be played between December 24 and January 10 at Jaipur’s Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium. The matches will be played between 6:30 pm and 9:30 pm with each match having two halves of 30 minutes each with a 10 min halftime break.

There will be a total of 30 round-robin matches, followed by three knockout matches. A total of 84 players will be drafted in six teams this season.

Sharma said that while international players will not be able to be a part of the league this season due to the pandemic, in the subsequent seasons, every team will be allowed to sign two Asian and one European player.

The company is also planning to launch a separate annual women’s handball league.
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