LAHORE: The riveting on-field action in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 has been matched by the record-breaking numbers on the league’s digital platforms as fans have wholeheartedly embraced the full homecoming of the league in the opening week of the fifth edition.

The numbers are greater than the earlier four seasons of the HBL PSL especially the opening week of the tournament. The HBL PSL digital platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok) are in an overdrive with the consumption of world-class content produced by the HBL PSL digital team while the PCB’s production partners have excelled by bringing high caliber, thrilling transmissions to the cricket-starved nation, according to the information made available by the Pakistan Cricket Board here on Wednesday.

Seven matches were played in the opening week at Karachi’s National Stadium including the opening ceremony which was very well attended by the Karachiites amid a festive atmosphere.

The first Karachi-leg concluded with a full-house for the absorbing clash between the home side Karachi Kings and Gladiators which the Gladiators won in the final over.

Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium played host to three games including Sunday’s last over thriller between the home side Lahore Qalandars and United which United won by one wicket after a sensational last wicket stand. A rousing home crowd at the Gaddafi saw their side narrowly lose the match, but as always both home and away sides received the warmth of the supporters.

The spellbinding action on field has been very well received by fans across the globe especially in Pakistan while the off-field content produced and shared on HBL PSL platforms has also received unprecedented attention of the fans. The brilliant televising job done by PCB’s production partners Tower Spors and SportzWorkz have delighted the crowds across the nation who have shown unprecedented enthusiasm in the PSL matches in this fifth edition.

According to information, this is also the biggest production venture undertaken by any production company in the history of Pakistan, where full fledged tv coverage of PSL matches and related activities is being done from four cities - Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan. Massive amount of latest equipment has been used in the coverage which is manned by top professionals to bring the thrilling moments to millions of home cricket fans, day in and day out.

The HBL PSL 2020 anthem TayyarHain has also broken previous records in terms of digital views in the opening week of the tournament. The league also launched its official TikTok channel on Feb 15 which already released multiple videos that have become viral.

It is safe to say that with packed stadiums and millions of digital views, the HBL PSL fever has gripped the country. The figures reveal that on YouTube there have been 4 million+ views on the HBL PSL anthem so far while in the last seven days - starting from the opening ceremony day — over 30 million viewers have viewed the matches and the PSL-related activities while Twitter & Instagram views have exceeded 14.6 million views.

The tournament resumed on Wednesday after a two-day break as the focus shifted to matches in Rawalpindi and Multan. Both the cities are hosting PSL games for the first ever time and the enthusiasm of the fans in the two cities is at its zenith now.

The league phase will continue from March 1-15 before the commencement of the play-offs with the Qualifier to be played the National Stadium on March 17 and then the final to be staged at the Gaddafi Stadium on March 22.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2020