25 Jan

Indian pay-television broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks has agreed a three-year media rights deal with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), covering the board’s home international matches and the annual Pakistan Super League (PSL) in the 2021-23 period. 

The agreement is one of a series of media-rights and sponsorship deals announced in recent weeks by the PCB. In the last few days, the board also announced sponsorship deals with Brighto Paints, covering the upcoming series against South Africa, and Pepsi, covering the Pakistan women’s cricket team. 

Sony’s deal, covering India and other territories in the Indian subcontinent, adds to a list of recent media-rights deals for the PCB covering major cricket markets around the world for the same period, with pay-television broadcaster Sky in the UK, Sky New Zealand, Willow in North America, Flow Sports in the Caribbean, and Supersports in sub-Saharan Africa. The board agreed domestic rights deals with PTV Sports and I-Media Communication Services last September. 

Overseas cricket board rights are valuable components of sports broadcasters’ portfolios in India. Sony has a particular focus on them as its main rival in the market, pay-television broadcaster Star India, currently has the rights to the two major domestic properties – the BCCI and the Indian Premier League – as well as the International Cricket Council. 

As well as the PCB, Sony has rights for international boards including: Cricket Australia, in a deal running until 2023; the England and Wales Cricket Board, in a deal running to 2022; Sri Lanka Cricket, in a deal running to 2023; and Cricket Ireland. 

Star also acquires rights for some international boards, and last year took the rights for Cricket South Africa from Sony. 

Announcing the new deal, Sony’s chief revenue officer, distribution and head – sports business, Rajesh Kaul, said the company would “air all of Pakistan’s home international games along with the Pakistan Super League”. 

PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said: “The PCB welcomes Sony Pictures Networks India to its list of elite broadcasters who will have rights to Pakistan’s bilateral series and PSL 2021-23. Through this partnership, cricket fans in South Asia will be able to follow and enjoy high-quality cricket action in Pakistan across all formats featuring some of the finest modern-day stars.” 

Sony’s deal will start with coverage of the South African series, which begins tomorrow with the first of two Test matches. The teams will also play three one-day internationals. It is the first Test series in Pakistan between the two countries in 13 years. Pakistan hosted little international cricket in the last decade due to concerns about security and terror attacks. 

This year’s Pakistan Super League is to begin on February 20. 

PCB Sponsorship deals 

Pakistani paints manufacturing company Brighto Paints secured title sponsor rights to the South Africa tour in a deal announced on Friday. Bank Al-Falah has got presenting rights to the tour. Under the deals, the tour will be called ‘Bank Al-Falah presents Brighto Paints Pakistan vs South Africa Test series 2021’. 

The PCB has also agreed deals for the series with Itel Mobile and sports news website Sky247.net, who will be series co-sponsors, and clothing retailer J. and Inverex Solar Energy, who will be associate sponsors. 

Sky247.net’s rights include title sponsorship of the T20 element of the tour. Itel Mobile will be the presenting partner. 

The PCB last week also announced one-year deals with Tapal Tea and hygiene brand Lifebuoy, both of whom will also have rights around the tour. 

In another deal announced last week, soft drinks brand Pepsi became the principal partner of the Pakistan women’s national team in a one-year agreement. The deal began with the South Africa v Pakistan limited overs series that began last week in South Africa. 

John Stephenson 


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