Although there is demand in adding new PSL clubs, none can be added until after the 2025 season
Despite growing demand for new PSL franchises, an agreement between the PCB and franchises that was reached in 2021 forbids the addition of new teams before the end of the tenth season in 2025.
It is understandable for the board given the funds it receives from franchise fees that interest among prospective new owners and within the current PCB for new franchises has been rising. But there are a few issues that could raise questions and add to the league’s burden in the future.
Najam Sethi, the current head of the PCB, has openly discussed the potential of adding at least one and possibly as many as two clubs, even though he hasn’t officially supported the idea of new franchises. Sethi recently spoke with local media and said:
“The revenue will increase and also teams will increase, and my advice to the other six franchises is that you will not suffer any loss, but you will make a profit from this, and if the revenue decreases, then we will help you in this matter.”
However, an express prohibition against adding franchises was inserted to the agreement between the board and franchises after a drawn-out reworking of the financial arrangements.
“The PCB agrees that it shall not introduce a new franchise team in the PSL under the same financial model contained herein, before the tenth edition of the Tournament has concluded, whereafter the PCB may include new franchise team(s) to participate in the PSL from time to time at its sole discretion,”according to the agreement’s new provision 2.12, a copy of which reporters have seen.
The condition also states that the six current franchises’ portion of the central pool of cash, which comprises 95% of broadcast rights, sponsorship rights, and gate revenue, will not be diminished in the event that a new team joins the league before the tenth season.
Under the leadership of Ramiz Raja, this share was one of the major consequences of the talks that resulted in the adoption of the new financial model.
The PCB has not yet raised the subject openly or informally with the franchises, but according to reports, it will probably be on the agenda of the PSL governing council meeting next month.
After the third edition, the sixth franchise, the Multan Sultans, was created and sold for a yearly cost of USD $6.35 million; after four seasons, they have failed to achieve financial success.
The window that the PSL has in the current, congested calendar is one of the biggest obstacles that an enlarged league will encounter. The BPL, BBL, and, starting this year, the ILT20 and SA20, encircle the current league, which lasts 34 days and is currently walled in at one end by these competitions.
The IPL is at the other extreme, and its expansion there might make it more difficult to get elite foreign players. It hasn’t always been constant for the PSL’s window.
Although February-March had been the favored time since 2016, it was moved back to January-February in 2022 to make room for the domestic series against Australia.
Additionally, the dates of the IPL and Pakistan’s hosting of the Champions Trophy in 2025 will conflict due to a jam-packed international calendar. And the 2026 PSL will ultimately take place in December 2025–January 2026, which is less than seven months later.
Current economic conditions in Pakistan make it less likely that fresh sponsorship will materialize quickly. Additionally, the league will have to schedule its games around Ramadan for the ensuing two years.
Since the Islamic calendar is lunar-based and Ramadan begins approximately ten days earlier on the Gregorian calendar each year, the two major promotional opportunities of the year—the league and the month—have so far avoided significant overlaps.
However, we are now moving towards a time where there may be overlap, and franchises are concerned that this may limit their commercial potential.
Another concern is the current depth of the Pakistani player pool, particularly in the top two categories. Six teams are already finding it difficult to select players due to the draft list’s lack of players; an additional two teams would make it even more difficult.
On paper, the PSL is a home-and-away competition, but the PCB hasn’t been able to spread out the games between six locations; in reality, only four franchises play at their home stadiums. More teams will result in more games, which could boost the broadcast value while also raising the production costs.
Peshawar, which would house Peshawar Zalmi, is expected to be added to the PCB’s list of potential locations for next year. They played an exhibition game in Quetta during this season, although it is doubtful that they would return.
Up until 2021, the franchisees and PCB engaged in a legal dispute over the financial model. As a result, former PCB chairman Ehsan Mani established a one-man panel, which included a retired Supreme Court chief justice, to settle the dispute.
Tassaduq Hussain Jillani examined the financial model and provided that report, but the PCB withheld its contents from the franchises since it was deemed to be confidential.
However, it made it possible for PCB to approve the amendment, which provided the franchisees with a revised allocation of the money from the central pool.