Blitz takes action over PSL media-rights payments

The Blitz agency, domestic broadcast rights-holder of the Pakistan Super League, has taken legal action against the Pakistan Cricket Board over rights payments for the suspended 2020 season of the Twenty20 competition.

Blitz has held back a payment to the PCB for the 2020 PSL season, believing this is tied to completion of the final game.

The ESPNcricinfo website said that, following this action, the PCB activated an insurance guarantee from Blitz, held as security for the contract, of PKR1bn (€5.3m/$6m). This act has led Blitz to take out a stay order in the civil courts in Lahore.

Blitz said: “Our dispute with the PCB is on issue of completion of PSL 2020 tournament. PCB has announced/declared since March 17 that four matches including semi-finals and final shall be held later in year 2020 and is postponed until then.

“According to our agreements with PCB, it is stated clearly – we are to pay the rights fees only after the last match of the PSL 2020 tournament is held and declared. Since last match of the PSL 2020 has not been held and/or declared by PCB therefore the rights fee is not due and payable under the agreements.

“Blitz was constrained to seek legal remedy through courts, refraining encashment of guarantee since the payment was not due until the last match of PSL 2020 was declared by PCB. Blitz, in the last five years of its relationship with PCB has honoured all its obligations in accordance with the agreements. However in this instance, Blitz, in view of PCB’s unjustified demand, had no other option but to approach courts for relief.”

The 2020 PSL season was suspended just before the knockout stages due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, a Pakistan Super League Governing Council meeting outlined a preference for staging the remaining four matches in November, but acknowledged there were a “number of moving pieces” due to the pandemic. This year’s PSL is the first to be staged entirely in Pakistan, with the previous four editions mostly held outside the country owing to security concerns.

Elsewhere, the PCB is said to be encountering difficulties in securing a new main sponsor ahead of Pakistan’s tour of England with soft drinks giant Pepsi reported to have decided  not to extend its deal. Urdu-language newspaper the Daily Express said only one company has made a bid in the current tender process, offering only 30 per cent of the value of the previous deal.

Pakistan is currently training in England without any sponsor logos on their kit. It is due to play three Test matches and three T20 internationals in August and September.