KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday yet again stumped experts and knowledgeable broadcasting circles when it named Messrs Blitz Advertising among the consortium that has been awarded the broadcasting right for the South Africa cricket series.

It has been a well-known fact that the PCB and Blitz Advertising have been embroiled in a nasty court battle for several months now and various quarters expressed surprise over the PCB’s announcement to include the latter in the consortium which will be relaying the matches live.

A PCB press release issued on Friday said: “The broadcast production services have been awarded to the consortium of TransGroup FZE, NEP Group and Blitz Advertising. The consortium includes NEP Group as the Technical Partner. NEP is one of the world’s leading production partners for over 30 years, supporting premier content producers across the broadcast and live event industries. NEP provides clients with technical services for remote production, studio production, video display, host broadcast, major projects, post production and visual effects, uplink services and innovative software-based creative technology solutions.

“The production for the Pakistan-South Africa series will have a 28-camera set-up, including Hawkeye with all DRS enhancements, Ultra Motion, Buggy Camera and Drone Camera among others. The production partners have expressed their delight at joining hands with PCB for the historic tour, South Africa’s first to Pakistan in more than 13 years.”

It may be mentioned here that the PCB had inked an agreement worth USD36 million with Blitz in 2018. But on the deferment of last four matches of the PSL early last year due to Covid-19, a payment dispute erupted as the broadcaster held back a payout to the board for this season as it persuaded the PCB to cash an insurance guarantee from the broadcaster.

That forced the Blitz to take a stay order against the PCB act in a civil court in Lahore. Though later the PCB moved to the Lahore High Court, the higher court sent it back to the civil court to first get a decision. However, later both the parties moved to the Arbitration Court, London, where the hearing is still pending..

When contacted, a PCB spokesman said that the legal issues between the PCB and Blitz were irrelevant as far as the broadcasting was concerned.

However, PCB’s move to include Blitz Advertising among the broadcasting consortium for the South Africa clearly defies PCB’s terms of contract with companies/organisations since they clearly state that the cricket board will not enter into any agreement or entertain any organisation involved in any sort of dispute with the PCB or if the organisation has remained involved in any fraudulent practices whatsoever.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2021

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