Deal terminated with Pakistan Super League’s international rights-holder

The Pakistan Cricket Board is seeking a new international rights deal for its franchise-based Twenty20 competition, the Pakistan Super League, after terminating its contract with Techfront International FZE.

Techfront International FZE had signed a three-year contract for the PSL’s international media rights running from 2019 to 2021, but the PCB said the deal has been ended due to a “series of contractual violations”.

The PCB added that it reserves the right to pursue appropriate remedies and damages, and will be taking the “strictest possible measures” to ensure and safeguard the League’s interests as well as its stakeholders.

Shoaib Naveed, PSL project executive, said: “In this instance, the partner, despite repeated reminders and discussions, failed to honour its commitment and obligations, leaving the PCB with no other option but to terminate the agreement.

“The termination of the agreement at this stage was also necessary so the PCB had sufficient time to start exploiting other avenues and partners for the future HBL Pakistan Super League events. Since its inception in 2016, the HBL PSL has become one of the most attractive and competitive leagues around the world.

“The PCB is already in discussions with various sub-licensees and relevant broadcasters in the international territories. The process is already underway to ensure a robust media-rights strategy for the HBL Pakistan Super League 2021 and onwards.”

Techfront and the Pakistan-based Blitz Advertising won the rights in a sales process at the end of 2018.

In July, Blitz told ESPNcricinfo that it was disputing rights fee payments with the PCB because the 2020 edition was yet to be completed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Blitz said: “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 the 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.”

The PCB and the PSL teams have resolved to finish the 2020 edition in November.

The PCB last week agreed a new three-year domestic broadcast rights and cable distribution deal with state broadcaster PTV Sports and I-Media Communication Services, respectively. PTV Sports signed a satellite broadcast deal, with I-Media to ensure cable distribution, and the contracts will run across the 2020 to 2023 cycle.

The PCB said the agreement had been structured to provide for increasing revenues over the term of the cycle, adding that it expects to earn in excess of $200m (€169.4m) over the three-year period.

The broadcast agreement is for Pakistan only, with the PCB stating it will soon finalise the award of its broadcast rights for international territories as well as launching a new structure for its digital media rights.