The rubber-ball tournament with quirky rules hosted by PepsiCo is back in 14 venues this year

The 7UP Lemon Pattalam has doubled in size. Built around the 7UP brand, the cricket tournament with quirky rules encompassed seven cities around Tamil Nadu in 2009. This year, it has extended to seven more.

PepsiCo introduced the rubber-ball tournament as a side attraction of the Indian Premier League, where it has big stakes. To promote 7UP, it generously used the number ‘7'. Each side had to field only seven players; each innings had seven overs; when the ball sailed over the ropes, it was not a six, but a seven. In keeping with the seven theme, seven cities were chosen. Following intra-city tournaments and clashes among successful teams from all the cities, the most successful team went on to play the Chennai Super Kings. Team Tirupur which won the 2009 edition played CSK in South Africa.

There are no changes in the format. But there is evidence of bigger drive to promote the tournament. At an event launching the 7UP Lemon Pattalam Season Two in the presence of CSK cricketers Parthiv Patel and S. Badrinath, PepsiCo unveiled a theme song and three commercials (to be released in a staggered manner). The theme song presents images of cricket played on glades and dried-up ponds. It also highlights features unique to certain places in the State.

To vie for the honour of playing against the CSK, aspirants have to do what they did last year – “collect 7 PET labels of 7UP and register themselves in groups of seven at select venues” in Coimbatore, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Salem, Tirupur, Tirunelveli, Puducherry, Erode, Thoothukudi, Thanjavur, Vellore, Nagercoil, Dindigul and Chennai.

The PepsiCo team says this year, 700 teams (350 last year) would be in the fray and the tournament would stretch across two months (it was one month in 2009).

For consumers, prizes are up for grabs. In the 14 cities, public interactions with CSK players and cricket quizzes and games are planned.

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