HBL PSL: A Game-Changer Beyond Just Cricket

HBL executive shares insights on successful brand partnership, urges other organisations to promote sports in Pakistan

Faisal Arshad April 22, 2024


The Pakistan Super League (PSL) has been a resounding success since its inception nine years ago in 2015, with nine seasons played so far, attracting a cumulative audience of over 100 million people worldwide. Habib Bank Limited (HBL) has been an integral part of this journey as the title sponsor since day one of PSL, considering it not just a catalyst for the development of sports in Pakistan, but also helping promote the country’s soft image on a world scale.

"HBL PSL has been a game changer for Pakistan, not just in terms of cricket but also in promoting a positive image of the country globally. Sports have a great role in a healthy society, and even economic development is linked with sports development of a country," said Ali Habib, Chief Marketing and Communication Officer of HBL, in an exclusive interview at The Express Tribune Podcast hosted by Adeel Azhar.

Ali Habib considers HBL's partnership with PSL not just a sponsorship but a commitment to giving back to the country. He highlighted that HBL, being an institution that has been part of Pakistan's socio-economic fabric for over 75 years, feels a deep connection with the nation and its people. The partnership with PSL reflects HBL's dedication to supporting initiatives that promote Pakistan's growth and development.

The conversation also touched upon the evolution of HBL PSL over the years, with Ali Habib sharing that the partnership has grown beyond just cricket to encompass other aspects of life. He mentioned HBL's new initiative, "Palat Do Khel" (Be a Game Changer), which encourages people to share positive stories of humanity and experiences on social media, promoting a culture of optimism and kindness on a landscape where negativity prevails in mainstream media.

The partnership between HBL and PSL has evolved over the years, with HBL now focusing on expanding its impact beyond cricket. "HBL's partnership with PSL is not just a sponsorship deal but a commitment to give back to the country. We have set aside expenditure for the 11 silent months between the two tournaments to engage in events where HBL PSL can be promoted," Habib revealed, disclosing further that HBL has recently launched a new company called HBL Zarayi Services, which will train farmers on how to improve farming and agriculture, boosting production of crops through better seeds, machinery, fertilizers, pesticides, and farming techniques. The company will recruit agronomists from agricultural universities of Pakistan, he said.

Read also: PSL 9: Stars shine bright, awards galore

Host Adeel Azhar praised HBL's successful social media campaign during PSL 9, where it promoted the trend of Palat Do Khel, which has reached millions of people worldwide. Ali Habib attributed this success to the power of social media and the fact that HBL has been able to engage with a wide audience of tens of millions of people, especially the youth, through its digital campaign.

When asked about the future of HBL PSL, Ali Habib expressed his hope that other institutions and companies will join the cause and support other sports leagues in Pakistan. Citing examples of Kabaddi, Badminton, and Hockey Leagues in India, which have been immensely successful, he urged other institutions to come forward and help develop similar leagues in Pakistan. Habib said that sports have a significant role in a healthy society and can contribute to economic development, as seen in the case of Qatar hosting the Football World Cup and China hosting the Olympics.

The podcast concluded with Ali Habib disclosing that while he supports both Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars, the ultimate victor of the tournament is Pakistan.



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