Kerala CM to flag off CBL boat race on Saturday in Sachin’s presence

With cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar as the star guest, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will flag off Champions Boat League (CBL) on Saturday alongside the famed Nehru Trophy Boat Race at the Punnamada lake in this coastal city.

Hosted by Kerala Tourism, CBL is the country’s first-ever boat-race formatted on the lines of IPL cricket. The league, with prize monies totalling Rs 5.9 crore, will see nine teams rowing for top honours.

The three-month championship was originally slated to begin on August 10, but got rescheduled owing to heavy rains that wreaked havoc across the state.

As per the new schedule, the CBL will begin on August 31 and conclude on November 23, with 12 races in all being held on all but one of the intervening Saturdays. The races will be held from 2 pm to 5 pm.

“We are a people who bounce back from disasters. The heavy downpour has only made us keener to go for the CBL and realise stronger the importance of such a championship,” said Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran. “The boat race has not just entertainment value; it has a role in stimulating the economy as well,” he added.

Set to be held in different parts of Kerala, the ticketed CBL will have its final (November 23) alongside the renowned President’s Trophy Boat Race at Kollam, 68 km north of the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. The inaugural event at Alappuzha, 50 km south of Kochi, will also feature water adventure sports.

The teams are Tropical Titans (traditionally, Pallathuruthi Boat Club), Backwater Knights (Village Boat Club), Backwater Ninja (Brothers Boat Club), Backwater Warriors (Town Boat Club), Coast Dominators (United Boat Club), Mighty Oars (NCDC), Pride Chasers (Vembanad Boat Club), Raging Rowers (Police Boat Club) and Thunder Oars (KBC/SFBC). The first three winners of each CBL match will get Rs 5 lakh, Rs 3 lakh and Rs 1 lakh respectively. All participants are entitled to a bonus prize of Rs 4 lakh per match.

The schedule goes thus after the August 31 round: September 7 (Thazhathangadi, Kottayam), September 14 (Karuvatta, Alappuzha), September 28 (Piravam, Ernakulam district), October 5 (Marine Drive, Kochi), October 12 (Kottappuram, Thrissur district), October 19 (Ponnani, Malappuram), October 26 (Kainakari, Alappuzha), November 2 (Pulinkunnu, Alappuzha district), November 9 (Kayamkulam, Alappuzha), November 16 (Kallada, Kollam district) and November 23 (President’s Trophy Boat Race, Kollam).

Billed as a game-changing initiative, the CBL ( seeks to professionalise Kerala’s largely scattered snake-boat races, while commercialising them without losing the conventional spirit. With a total prize money of Rs 5.9-crore prize money, the CBL ranks the fourth highest in all sports in India.

The races will be broadcast live. Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Asianet Worldwide, Asianet Plus, Hotstar, ETV Andhra Pradesh and ETV Telangana will beam the event for an hour from 4 pm.

Tickets can be booked online through ‘Book my Show’ platform. Besides, 20 counters are being set up in all the venues for spot purchase (from 10 am to 6 pm); prices between Rs 100 and Rs 3,000. Tickets for the inaugural and the rest of the races can be bought from Alappuzha finishing point and Vijaya Park on Alappuzha Beach (operational till Aug 31).

The other outlets are the District Tourism Office in Kumarakom North and District Tourism Promotion Council at Kodimatha (both around Kottayam, operational till Sep 7), Department of Tourism at Marine Drive in Ernakulam and Tourist Information Centre at on Calvathy Road in Fort Kochi (till October 5) and DTPC Office near Boat Jetty at Alappuzha (till November 23).