Companies need space where they can be seen easily by people. If a space is cherished by masses it is the place to put oneself for recognition. That is what the Pakistan Super League (PSL) promises.
Cricket fans in Pakistan definitely have started loving the league. On a couple of occasions, I have seen a chai wala betting that if a team beats Quetta Gladiators he will serve a cup of tea for free.
PSL matches have been the talking point at places where people meet to unwind. During this season, PSL has unarguably become the biggest interest of the nation, even bigger than the political talk shows.
PSL attracts companies to come, buy a place and gain brand recognition. However, spot-fixing scandal has spread a pungent smell that may drive away companies.
But brand recognition is not the only thing companies seek from an event like PSL. Brand loyalty is another important thing. By associating brands with PSL and its franchises, companies expect to gain brand loyalty.
Since, PSL is becoming the toast of the nation it is the place where companies would want their products to be placed.
The issue of spot-fixing has subsided apparently for now and hopefully the league will gain its reputation back. There are reports that PSL TRP has not gone down and in fact it has increased as compared to previous edition. The report compared the first week viewership of PSL’s edition to the first week’s viewership ratings of the ongoing edition.
Unlike IPL which observed a downward trend in its TRPs following fixing scandals, PSL has not been affected from TRPs perspective. But of course TRPs in Pakistan and also in India cannot be fully trusted.
PSL can become the biggest sports and entertainment brand in Pakistan. But the real thing is sustainability.
Before PSL kicked off in 2016, the league had a negative brand value as people had doubts about it. It was postponed several times.
But by the end of the first edition, PSL had become a brand itself.
Experts say broadcasters are as important as sponsors in keeping a league running around the world. But sports broadcasting industry has not evolved in Pakistan. Lack of private sector interest in the industry has kept it behind.
Unfortunately, news is being consumed as a form of entertainment after prolific growth in the number of news channels during the last decade. The same has not happened in sports media.
The biggest contributors in PSL revenues were broadcasters. Lack of competition for broadcasters to broadcast PSL matches is dangerous for the league.
Another thing is holding PSL outside Pakistan. Home and away matches in Pakistan will stir regional rivalry, which is considered important for such city-based leagues. Fans throng stadiums to support their teams. The PSL fandom is bound to flourish if it lands in Pakistan. The recent twitter spat between Pakistani pacer Wahab Riaz, who is playing for Peshawar Zalmi, and his wife Zaynab Wahab, who cherished a Lahore Qalandars triumph, is a proof of this.
Hopefully the final will be held befittingly in Lahore on March 5 and pave the way for complete PSL edition happening in Pakistan next year.