Pakistan cricket – PCB projects revenue of $650m from proposed annual four-team Super Series

Pakistan cricket - PCB projects revenue of $650m from proposed annual four-team Super Series
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The Pakistan board’s proposal, which includes India as a participating team, will be formally presented at the ICC Board meeting in Dubai next week

The PCB’s proposed quadrangular T20I tournament could, according to the board’s projections, bring in as much as USD 650 million in revenue for the four participants as well as the ICC.

The proposal, which sees Pakistan, India, England and Australia playing a single-league T20 tournament annually, will be presented formally at the ICC Board meeting next week in Dubai.

The PCB has identified a window for the event in September-October which, officials say, is an ideal period because it is the start of the season in Australia, India and Pakistan and near the end of the English season.

As it stands, the plan is for a single-league structure of six league games, concluded by either a one-off or best-of-three finals, played across two weekends. Hosting rights for the tournament are envisaged to run on a rotational basis and control over the event will be the ICC’s.

The paper projects that such a tournament could bring in USD 650 million in media and commercial rights, and plans for that the money to be distributed between the four sides as well as other ICC members. It is not clear what the breakdown will be of the revenue, but it is thought that a significant portion could go towards the non-participating Full Members and Associate members.

“This is a strategic paper in which the ICC and its members have been encouraged and invited to explore an untapped event opportunity around traditional rivalries in cricket, turn them into a cricket extravaganza, attract a new generation of cricketers, speed up cricket development and maximise revenues for the members,” a PCB official familiar with the plan told ESPNcricinfo.

“This concept not only provides context, it will also become a much-anticipated event across the globe as cricket fans and followers want to see Pakistan play India or Australia take on England or India meet England or Pakistan face Australia on an annual basis.”

The concept is one that Ramiz Raja, the PCB chairman, has spoken of repeatedly since he took over last year, but one that, until now, came with little detail. Along with the board CEO Faisal Hasnain, Ramiz will present it formally in Dubai next week. The meeting is an important one given that it will be an opportunity for members to further shape the next Future Tours Programme (FTP).

How it is received by others remains to be seen, and for various reasons – not least strained ties between India and Pakistan – several obstacles stand in the way. India and Pakistan have not played a bilateral series since 2012-13 because political relations between the two countries are at a low ebb. Relations between the two cricket boards are also not especially functional either – the teams only face off in ICC events.

Reasons other Full and Associate members would agree to such an idea that foresees no participation for them are also not obvious – even with a potential annual payout. If, as proposed, the ICC is to run the event, that would add another layer of complication, with regard to the events they have already locked into their next cycle.

An increased number of ICC events in that next cycle – there are four men’s T20 World Cups between 2023-2031 – as well as the domestic T20 leagues most Full Members are now running means that space in the calendar is all but non-existent – unless it comes at the expense of bilateral commitments.

The PCB says this quadrangular is not an attempt to undermine ICC events but to add another short event to the calendar, one they feel has strong commercial value.

“The ICC tried the ICC Super Series in 2005, so there is no harm in testing waters for another event,” the official said. “This event will also bring a further nation vs nation event, in a cricket calendar that is being increasingly influenced by mushrooming of various T20 leagues around the world. Because of that, bilateral T20Is have become meaningless. The four-nation Super Series can fill the vacuum.”

Osman Samiuddin is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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