PSL Broadcast and Media Rights Auction Postponed

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The PSL’s Broadcast Rights Bidding Delayed by Two Weeks

The bidding for the broadcast and media rights for the PSL has been delayed by two weeks to the beginning of January, meaning the ninth season of the league will only land a broadcast deal a month before it is due to start. Though bids will be submitted to the PCB, the winner will have to be approved by IPC, the government’s ministry for inter-provincial coordination.

The delay once again highlights the limitations of the current interim PCB administration, which is under a government mandate to only make decisions on day-to-day affairs and organise elections to set up the Board of Governors. The Prime Minister/Patron PCB directed PCB that all decisions having financial and contractual implications shall only be taken with the approval of Prime Minister/Patron PCB. Any appointment or awards of rights or contracts of any sort will be violation of the directions of Patron PCB. No progress report has been given by the PCB on the organization of its elections.

Technical bids for PSL broadcast were due to be submitted by December 22, but after the meeting between the Prime Minister and Ashraf, potential bidders were informed by the PCB that the process would be delayed. The PSL’s broadcast rights have been an important source of revenue for the PCB, fetching USD 24 million for two seasons under the deal just ended. That, in itself, represented a 50% boost on the preceding deal. Traditionally, the PSL is broadcast live on multiple channels available for viewing in Pakistan, including PTV, the state-run broadcaster.

Though the draft for the ninth season was held last week, a schedule has not yet been finalized for the ninth season. The start of the season is complicated by general nationwide elections in the country from February 8. The tenure for the current administration also ends on February 4. It is likely the season will begin in mid-February and though there had been talk of moving the start to the UAE, it will go ahead in Pakistan.

It is unusual for the state to be directly involved in approving broadcast deals, but it illustrates the administrative limbo the game is in Pakistan at the moment. When Ashraf’s tenure ends, and depending on the new government post-elections, it is very likely a new PCB administration will be in place, which may involve yet more upheaval.

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