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PSL — The biggest cricketing event of Pakistan

With its third edition underway in full swing, the Pakistan Super League has gained the status of a festival in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan after successful holding of two editions of the same earlier. On one hand, it helps portray a positive image of Pakistan abroad whereas on the other hand it is a big source of revenues for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). At a time when no international cricket is being played at home since 2009, PSL came to our rescue in the form of a global cricketing product. It has gained the status of a ‘cash cow’ which reaps handsome profits in the form of attendances, TV ratings and media exposure. This article analyzes the various aspects through which PSL is beneficial for the economy of Pakistan:

Franchising

Pakistan Super League (PSL) is a franchise-based cricket league and the six franchises were sold for more than a $100 million, which is the single largest private sector investment in cricket. Based on PSL’s overall commercial success, the value of each franchise has gone up through broadcast money, sponsorships, ticket sales, team sponsorship and merchandising. PSL has also become a key marketing tool for companies such as HBL, Bahria Town, Nestle, Qatar Airways, OyeHoye, Dostea, Careem etc. By associating brands with PSL and its franchises, companies expect to gain brand loyalty. The only impression that PSL franchises thrive on city based rivalry would be killed when it comes to Pakistan this year because no matter whoever wins or loses, the ultimate winner would be Pakistan!

Remittances

It is observed that remittances to Pakistan surge during pre and post PSL as exchange companies in the UAE launch various marketing campaigns around the PSL in which expats are incentivized for sending money back home. Remittances play a major role in stabilizing Pakistan’s external sector, as they make up almost half the import bill and cover the deficit in the trade of goods account. Worker remittances have shown some unexpected improvement, and in the first 6 months of fiscal year 2018, increased by 8.72 percent from the same period in fiscal year 2017. If this rebound can be sustained for the rest of fiscal year 2018, it may ameliorate the external sector.

Projection of positive image

PSL has now become ‘talk of the town’ and cricket is playing its role in restoration of national pride. There are very few products that Pakistanis take pride in and PSL is one such exception. With the improvement in law and order situation, Pakistan has shown that it could put up such a huge product, however, amid the key challenge is continuous improvement of PSL.

Talent hunt

There is no dearth of talent when it comes to cricket in Pakistan and PSL helps pave a way for budding cricketers to get noticed based on their performance. It also helps in improving cricket at grass root level. Emerging talent gets the opportunity to mingle with international players who share their knowledge and techniques with them, which will go a long way in their career building.

Revenue generation

Last year, the revenue generated through final match at Lahore surpassed the revenue generated for all the matches at Dubai and Sharjah combined. PSL has the potential to kick start economic activity once the whole event is organized in Pakistan and the major industries that could derive benefit from it are hotels and restaurants, advertising, print/electronic media and tourism industry.

Revival of cricket in Pakistan

Pakistan, as a nation, is a die-hard cricket loving country who would love to see cricket action back on home grounds. The entire potential of PSL is expected to unleash once all the matches are played on Pakistani soil. Only then we could call PSL ‘a league of our own’.

The writer is a Karachi based freelance columnist and is a banker by profession. He could be reached on Twitter @ReluctantAhsan

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