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PSL – Pakistan’s largest investment in global cricketing product

Habib Bank of Pakistan (HBL) has renewed its contract for next three years with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as the official title sponsor of Pakistan Super League (PSL). The new deal is worth three times more than the original agreement signed ahead of the fourth edition of the glittering tournament PCB is likely to receive around $14.3 million as part of the new sponsorship deal whereas in 2016 this amount was $5.2 million. Many other companies are the sponsors of different teams. Following are some of the benefits of PSL for the sponsors:

  • Heightened quality brand awareness as a very big geographical area is covered by the event.
  • Increased customer loyalty.
  • Improved perception and brand image.
  • Direct reach to the general masses.

By the time these lines will be printed, the fourth edition of PSL must have kicked off in the United Arab Emirates last week. The PSL pledges to propel the cricket-starved country and the cash-starved PCB towards commercial viability and greater professionalism. The teething process is almost over from which all the stakeholders have learnt their lessons. The biggest chunk of revenue generated is always from broadcasting deals, but the underdevelopment of sports broadcasting in Pakistan has meant that PCB is somewhat handicapped on that front. It is clear that the financial side of things will take a bit more time to become established, but most of the PSL having to be played abroad and not in Pakistan has a major impact on the numbers floating around. Compared to the ticket sales and cost of organizing in UAE dirhams, the situation would have been altogether different. Ticket sales would arguably be higher, and franchises would have greater control over gate money received.

 

The PSL is a golden opportunity for PCB to build upon. A successful fourth edition of the PSL might open up the possibility of having all the matches being hosted at home in the fifth season, thereby increasing chances of international cricketers returning to Pakistan.A recent example is that of T20 matches being played between the women cricket teams of West Indies and Pakistan. Then there are on-ground branding and sponsorships opportunities to be leveraged and a potential increase in broadcasting revenue to be registered. Franchises will be able to leverage greater marketing opportunities in the form of branding options presented by the PSL: branded credit cards for fans, schools and colleges activated to support local teams, home delivery nights from food sellers, increase in sales of television sets, increased hotel bookings etc.

The PSL has gained the status of a ‘cash cow’ which reaps handsome profits in the form of attendances, TV ratings and media exposure. It has also become a key marketing tool for companies such as HBL, Bahria Town, Nestle, Qatar Airways, OyeHoye, Dostea, Careem, Zong and various media groups, etc. By associating brands with PSL and its franchises, companies expect to gain brand loyalty. 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.

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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