TV rights bidders for PSL fall well short of PCB’s target of $42m

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LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has started receiving bids for the next three years’ media rights for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) but they are certainly not as attractive or handsome as compared to the bids received for the first two PSL editions (2016-17).

None of the bidders, it seems, have reached anywhere near the US$ 42 million figure mark which is the target set for the next three years, Dawn has reported. With the PSL now a hugely popular and established brand and with increased number of matches set to be played in Pakistan, the bids should have been much higher this time but that has not been the case.

According to reports, the offers from the bidders were opened at a meeting that continued till late on Friday night. The tenure of the successful bidder will start from the fourth edition of the PSL which will be commencing from Feb 14 to March 17.

It may be mentioned here that unlike the previous three editions of the PSL, this time, the PCB has decided to sell the media rights, instead of buying specific time of different TV channels to live telecast the matches through arrangements made by the PCB.

When the PCB launched the PSL in 2016, no TV channel was ready to offer a reasonable price for seeking the media rights as the fate of first edition was still hanging in the balance. At that stage, then PCB chairman Najam Sethi and his team had decided to buy the transmission time of three sports channels and made all other arrangements on their own of broadcasting and collecting the commercials which eventually paid rich dividends.

However, now Ehsan Mani’s management has decided to sell the media rights because the TV channels are now showing tremendous interest in purchase of media rights.

While not a single match was held in Pakistan during the first edition held in 2016 due to security issues, the final of the second edition was held at the Gaddafi Stadium which attracted a packed to capacity crowd. In the third edition, three matches – two in Lahore and the final in Karachi – were held and were sellout affairs.

And now the PCB has announced to hold eight matches including the final in Pakistan. It is possible that the future PSL editions may see more matches played in Pakistan and, in that reference, the PCB – by setting a target price of around US$42 million for next three years – is still selling it short.