The Pakistan Super League (PSL) edged closer to reality as five franchises of the T20 league were sold at $93 million for a 10-year period after the financial bids opened followed by an intense auction. Karachi was sold as the most expensive team followed by Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta.
Seven parties were in the running to claim stakes in the league including Haier, Omar Associates, ARY Group, Mobilink, Arif Habib Group, UAE’s venture capital Leonine Global and Qatar’s oil company QALCO.
ARY Group put up the highest successful bid at the auction and won the rights for Karachi at $2.6 million per year, beating closest-competitor Arif Habib Group, the only other party which had bid just for Karachi while the remaining six were in the race for stakes in all the franchises.
There was a neck-to-neck battle between ARY Group and Arif Habib Group till the very end as both tried to outmuscle each other; however, it was the media group CEO Salman Iqbal who placed the highest bid in the end between the two.
Pakistan Super League: Seven companies fight it out to buy franchises
QALCO outbid everyone present to get the rights for Lahore at $2.51 million per year while Islamabad was bought by Leonine Global for $1.6 million per year.
Peshawar’s rights were won by Haier’s Javed Afridi for $1.6 million but it was not the initial price that he had quoted. They had bid only $0.5 million for Peshawar before upping it slowly to win the race.
“We’re looking forward to a successful T20 league and hopefully Peshawar will make its mark in the inaugural competition,” Afridi told The Express Tribune.
However, initial bids of $0.5 million from Haier and $0.5 million and $0.3 million from Mobilink for the franchises angered the PSL officials who believed the process was not being taken seriously.
PSL is well within budgetary projections: Sethi
Meanwhile, Omar Associates took Quetta for $1.1 million after initially bidding $0.9 million for it, making it the lowest-priced team but Managing Director Nadeem Omar said they would still pose a challenge for the title.
“We want to build a successful team of talented players and not run after publicity by splashing-out cash,” he said. “Quetta is here to stay and our target is to build a title-winning squad in the next few weeks.”
HBL named title sponsors for first three years
In another successful development, one of Pakistan’s oldest and biggest banks, Habib Bank Limited (HBL) joined PSL as title sponsors for the first three years of the league which will now be known as HBL Pakistan Super League.
“I am delighted with these positive developments and this is a major achievement in our PSL journey,” said Najam Sethi, Chairman PSL Governing Council. “The best part is that all the team owners are ardent cricket fans and their dedication will make this league a success. HBL’s association with the PSL is another indication of established brands partnering with the league.”
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Having reserved production rights to ensure international standard coverage, the PSL’s broadcast arrangements have also been finalised for the next three years and will be produced by world leaders Sunset+Vine.
Matches will be aired in Pakistan on Ten Sports and PTV Sports. Global TV rights for the same duration have been sold to Tech Front, a UAE-based media rights acquisition company.
The coach selection process for all five teams will take place in the next 10 days and the player draft event will be held at the end of December.
The first edition of the PSL will take place from February 4-23 in Dubai and Sharjah.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2015.
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