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March 12, 2018

Losing sponsors, PSL franchises are fuming


Mon, Mar, 18

DUBAI: Just three-years old, the HBL Pakistan Super League has already established itself as one of the biggest brands to come out of the country.

But despite its initial success, the T20 league continues to face stumbling blocks.And one of the biggest losers are the six franchises.

Sources in various PSL franchises told ‘The News’ that all the six teams have been losing money since the initiation of the league back in 2016.

“Not a single of the franchises is breaking even,” a well-placed source said.

Despite suffering from financial losses, the franchises have been fully backing the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in its campaign to turn PSL into one of the best T20 leagues in the world.

However, there is one reason why many of the franchise owners are fuming. They believe that instead of supporting them, PCB is, directly or indirectly, robbing it of sponsors.

“We are all fully backing PCB because we own PSL and want to make it the best T20 league in the world,” said one franchise owner. “But the Board will have to rethink its marketing strategy. It will have to treat the franchises as major stakeholders but unfortunately some of their policies are having adverse effects on the finances of the franchises,” he added.

The single biggest lament of some of the franchises is that the PCB has given a too much of a freehand to its marketing partners Transmedia.

“They (Transmedia) are dealing fatal blows to some of the franchises by luring away their sponsors. This practice should be stopped. The franchises are already struggling because so far PSL has not been a money-making business for them.“

The Board should ask its marketing partners to find their own sponsors instead of poaching on sponsors that are associated with the franchises,” an official of one of the franchises told ‘The News’.

According to a senior official of one of the PSL franchises, Transmedia has succeeded in luring away sponsors from them because it was in a position to give them a better deal because it had PCB’s backing.

“The thing is that anyone working on behalf of the PCB can offer sponsors better deals. But you cannot go and make a pitch to a company that is already associated with a (PSL) franchise. They should find new sponsors for the Board instead of luring away companies associated with the franchises. This practice should be stopped,” he said.

According to sources, the issue was also raised in a meeting between the six franchise owners and Najam Sethi, the PCB chairman, at the Inter-continental in Dubai Festival City.

The franchise owners demanded that the PCB should make things more transparent and allow the franchises to be a part of the process through which it will sell title and broadcast rights for future editions of the league including PSL 4 in 2019.

“HBL’s title sponsorship was for three years which means that PCB will be signing up a new title sponsor. It is expecting to get a sum that is at least three times more than the previous deal with HBL,” said a source.

“The franchise owners want to be in the loop when the PSL rights are sold. They want in and the PCB has assured them that it will find a way,” another well-placed source disclosed.