ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Chairman Pakistan Super League (PSL) Governing Council Najam Sethi has said that the PSL is going to be more like the Indian Premier League IPL than the other leagues.
“I say that because there are 200 million Pakistanis at home and abroad. This is by far the single biggest eyeball market in the cricketing world outside of India,” he said in an interview with prominent cricket website ESPNcricinfo.
Sethi expressed the desire to hold to the PSL in Pakistan stating, “That is our aim. It is dependent on two things: the financial success of the PSL, how it catches the imagination of the Pakistanis and the world, and on the security situation.”
“I see the PSL as a gateway to Pakistan. If we are successful in holding a league here which creates a degree of excitement, if our security situation continues to improve as it is improving by the day, I see no reason why we can’t persuade foreign players to play one match in Karachi and one match in Lahore next year. Then maybe in the third year, we could bring the whole league back to Pakistan. That is the short-term objective,” he added.
Sethi said that Pakistanis were passionate about three things: cricket, music and food and he wanted to bring all these three together and the PSL was the right platform to do that.
To a question he said that the Masters Champions League (MCL) could not be compared with the PSL. “That is for retired players and ours is current stars. And the market is very different: we are going to be banking really on Pakistanis whereas their audience is mixed. This is our first time. We really need to kick off.”
To another query as what would franchises gain, he said: “The financial model is such that probably nobody might make money this season.
I am hoping the PCB breaks even. I have told the board that we will not lose money this year. Some of the others (franchises) were not versed in terms of how to exploit their merchandising and other values might lose money.”
But, in the next two years, they will make money. The minute they make money the value of their assets will go up. And that is when we will have the sixth team followed by two more teams subsequently.
He said next year foreign players would be offered very good financial incentives with an aim to see whether they could do at least the opening and the final in Pakistan.
He said that PSL’s marketing budgets did not give enough scope to spend the sort of money other leagues had spent.
“What is happening in Pakistan is more significant and important to us. Gate money is a fraction of our revenues. Apart from the psychological impact of having a good house on the first day or the second day, at the end of the day, it is the broadcasting value we get which comes from all the advertisers back home.”