PCB to spend US$ 2.5-3 million for Independence Cup

The World XI team players were paraded around the ground in colourful auto-rickshaws 

The PCB will end up spending anywhere between US$ 2.5-3 million for the staging of the three-match T20I series against World XI, as it bids to build on unprecedented international goodwill and bring more cricket back to Pakistan.

A major chunk of that figure will have been spent on bringing the World XI team to Lahore. Nobody has spoken publicly about how much the players are being paid but it is thought to be in the region of $100,000 each. The rest is made up mostly by the logistic costs involved.

The PCB will not, at least, have to pay for the entire costs of the security apparatus for the series. Two international security consultants – Reg Dickason and Nicholls Steyn and Associates – have been engaged, with the $1.1 million cost picked up by the ICC. That is a result of efforts by the PCB over the last year to seek some kind of assistance from the game’s governing body from their projected loss of revenues from the absence of international cricket at home.

Although the total spend on the series may appear hefty for a board that hasn’t hosted an India series in well over a decade and has hosted one international series at home since 2009, the PCB’s financial health appears to be better than has been often thought.

The board has made a profit every year since 2011 and has, in fact, tripled it in the three years to June 2016 – for the year 2015-16, according to its annual report, the PCB made a profit of $14.5 million dollars.

That is one reason a member of the board’s governing body said he would be happy even if they manage to just break even over the course of this week. Since this series was not part of Pakistan’s original FTP schedule, it does not come under the five-year broadcast deal they signed with Ten Sports in 2013, thought to be around $150 million.

Instead, the PCB has crafted the same deal they did for the PSL, whereby they buy airtime in bulk and sell advertising space, taking a majority share of the revenues that generates.

Ordinarily, the rest of their revenues would come from various series-specific commercial deals and ticket sales. But the talk around Lahore over the last few days has been of disappointing ticket sales, a result of a pricing policy that has not quite worked out. Hours before the game, the PCB chairman Najam Sethi took to Twitter calling on fans to not wait to see how the series develops and instead buy tickets now. Ten overs into the first game on Tuesday evening, the 25,000-capacity Gaddafi Stadium was nearly but not entirely full.

What they end up making, the investment, as the board member pointed out, is a longer-term one. If this series goes off without incident, it paves the way for Sri Lanka to play a solitary T20 in Lahore on October 29 and, potentially, West Indies to visit for a three-match series of T20s in November.

With more games of the PSL due to be played in Pakistan next season, this period becomes a critical one in determining the future extent of international cricket in Pakistan.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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