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PCB eyes lucrative deals after ‘securing’ windows for PSL editions

By Our Correspondent
July 23, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan’s cricket chiefs are hoping for a financial turnaround after having “secured” perfect windows for the next three editions of the country’s money-spinning professional T20 league, well-placed sources told The News on Wednesday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has suffered financial setbacks in the recent past mainly caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It was forced to suspend the 2020 edition of the revenue-generating Pakistan Super League (PSL) in March and later failed to secure ample sponsorship deals, attracting criticism from various quarters.

However, things are expected to be better for the Board which believes that by securing windows for the next three editions of the PSL it would be able to secure proper commercial and sponsorship rights.

According to reliable sources, Ehsan Mani, the PCB chairman, pulled some strings and managed, ahead of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Board meeting held earlier this week, to get support of other Test-playing nations.

In the meeting held via teleconference, the ICC decided to postpone the T20 World Cup which was scheduled for Oct-Nov this year in Australia. It was decided by the ICC that the event will be moved to Oct-Nov 2021. The 2022 T20 World Cup will also take place in Oct-Nov while the 2023 50-over World Cup, to be hosted by India, was moved from Feb-March to Oct-Nov.

“This means that now the international window in Feb-March is free for the next three years. That’s the window PCB had always chosen to hold the PSL,” a source said.

He added that this “didn’t happen by chance.”

“The PCB chairman garnered support from various ICC Board members to ensure that there is a proper window available for the PSL on the international calendar,” he said.

The PSL has within a few years of its inception become the feeding arm for the PCB, which is why its top officials have been making efforts to secure its next few editions. That is going to help PCB’s marketing team, which has been struggling to sell media and commercial rights, to ink lucrative deals in the near future.

“The Board may not be on the brink of bankruptcy but it is going to face the crunch unless it manages substantial media and commercial rights deals. The fact that PSL has a window available for the 2021, 2022 and 2023 editions means that PCB is now in a much better position to sell the rights,” the source said.