LAHORE: Pakistan Super league (PSL) chairman Najam Sethi on Tuesday disclosed that a profit of US$2.6 million was made on the first edition of the league and termed it as “a great achievement for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)”.
“When we were planning on launching the league, we didn’t expect any profit,” Sethi told reporters at a news conference alongside PCB chief Shaharyar Khan after attending the Board of Governors meeting.
“But, thankfully the first edition of the league was profitable for the PCB. And although initial reports suggest the franchises may have suffered losses, we will accommodate them.
“We will sit with them and discuss if they suffered losses and we’re in a position to help them to the tune of US$2 million. Even after that, we will have US$600,000 while we expected to make just US$300,000.”
Shahryar, meanwhile, reminded reporters that the first edition of the PSL was a difficult one since they initially faced problems in getting grounds in the United Arab Emirates as its dates clashed with the Masters Cricket League.
While the PCB BoG was reluctant to give Sethi the green light as they feared huge losses on a heavy investment, the profit earned now means Sethi has cemented his place as PSL chairman.
“I promised I will disclose details of the PSL funds,” he said. “We were successful in every aspect — the ratings were high, thanks to our state-of-the-art production, while our upcoming players got an opportunity to rub shoulders with the top players in the world.
“Furthermore, we sold our franchises for US$9.3 million, US$3 million more than we’d earlier predicted.”
He said while the league wasn’t able to meet the targets of gate money (US$6 million to US$7.5 million), they made good money through the broadcast of the event after buying the airtime of three television channels. “We expected broadcasting rights to sell to the tune of US$15 million but it all went wrong after Ten Sports offered just US$2 million, which persuaded the PSL to make their own production arrangements.
“We earned US$9 million from the broadcast of the league,” he said.
Sethi added that the PCB BoG had allowed the PSL to include a sixth franchise from the next edition even through there were “objections from the other five franchises” but “they could be convinced”.
“Although we had decided to include a sixth team from 2018, looking at the success of the inaugural edition, the BoG members have allowed us to induct a sixth team from 2017,” he said.
“A separate company would also be established to run the PSL, but its 100 percent shares would be owned by the PCB.
“Also, two members each from the BoG, the PCB executive committee and from the PCB would be included in the PSL BoG. However, all profits earned would be of the PCB.”
Sethi also hailed the recently-held Pakistan Cup in Faisalabad which was organised on the pattern of the PSL.
“It is the first time the PCB earned gate money and it is around Rs7.5million,” he said. “We’re planning to make domestic tournaments more attractive for the spectators as that would help rope in broadcasters and sponsors.”
To a question, he said the next biggest challenge for the PSL was to hold some matches in Pakistan.
“But we cannot give the foreign players security assurances and we need support from the Punjab and Sindh governments,” he added. “After security assurances from the provincial governments, we can invite the foreign players to play a few matches in Pakistan.”
Sethi also regretted the recent bomb blast at a park in Lahore which foiled another latest attempt to bring international cricket to Pakistan. “We were in talks with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for a three-match T20 series here,” he informed. “But after the blast, that’s become impossible.”
Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2016
For more live updates, follow Dawn.com's official news Instagram account @dawn.today