Rift between PSL franchises, PCB over sponsorship struggles

F.P. Report

KARACHI:  With the third edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) just around the corner, the franchises are finding it difficult to lock deals with sponsors.

Reliable sources have confirmed to this correspondent that almost all the teams are struggling to get deals inked and time is running out.

“Teams are struggling to meet their target of sponsorship, few have been able to get secondary logo placement deals, most of them were carried from previous editions,” a source privy to the matter told this correspondent.

“There are a few reasons, some are cricketing and some are political,” the source added. The reason behind the lukewarm response from sponsors, according to sources, is that there is no hype being initiated from the PSL secretariat about the event.

“Some potential sponsors have questioned why there is no hype being built for the tournament,” mentioned a source privy to the matter.

“Also, the in-stadia share of advertisement to the franchises is very limited and most of the share is going to the PCB,” the source added.

This correspondent spoke with various stakeholders related to the PSL, and it has been observed that most of the franchises are not happy with the way the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is dealing with them. This correspondent has also learnt from various sources that some teams have requested the PCB for some kind of bail-out package.

“It is true that franchises have contacted PCB, at least one of them has for sure, to seek some bailout or financial concessions to overcome hefty expenses,” the source informed. Sources further confirmed that despite the losses, at least three franchises have paid full money to the PCB for season three, while one has paid only the annual fees and sought time from the PCB to pay $600,000. Two others have not paid anything to the PCB yet.

PCB sources, meanwhile, said the board is trying to enforce PSL contracts with franchisees in order to facilitate the third edition of the tournament.

Two franchises are in default, which is creating financial difficulties for the PCB. As per rules, if they fail to make payments in time, the PCB can take control of the franchises, the PCB sources added.

Meanwhile, PCB sources – while confirming that franchises have sought some relief – said that PCB is not in a position to give relief to franchises and it will be against the terms of the agreement.

“To get sponsors for franchises is not PCB’s job, this has to be done by franchises, yet we are trying to help them,” said a source on condition of anonymity.

The source said that giving relief to one franchise would be violation of terms of agreement signed with the other franchises by PCB chairman Najam Sethi said earlier today the promotion is about to kick off.

“#PSL3 is firmly on track. First match in Dubai on 22nd Feb and Final in Karachi on 25th March. Promo campaign about to kick off,” he tweeted.