Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson
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The Pakistan Cricket Board has sold all five Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchises for $93 million for a ten-year period. Karachi became the most expensive team with the ARY Group shelling out $26 million to gain ownership. There were seven bidders in the shortlist for the open bidding. Among those to miss out were Pakistan's largest telecom company Mobilink and another popular name Arif Habib Group.
The PSL will be a month-long affair, beginning on February 4 and will feature sides from Pakistan's provincial capitals - Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta and Islamabad. A total of 24 matches are scheduled and although finding stakeholders has taken some time, the PCB has managed to secure the interests of renowned business in Pakistan and even abroad.
The PSL's title sponsorship goes to Habib Bank Limited, while Ten Sports and PTV Sports become the official broadcasters. Global television rights have been given to Tech Front, a UAE-based media rights acquisition company. Sunset and Vine will be in charge of producing the coverage. The broadcast arrangements have been finalised for the next three years.
The top two bidders, ARY Group and Qatar Oil have not had much connection with cricket so far but they will now own the two most popular teams in the country - Karachi and Lahore, sold for $25 million.
Haier Group, a consumer electronics and home appliances company, paid $16 million for Peshawar. The franchise from the capital, Islamabad, went to Leonine Global Sports, which is an entity created specifically for the PSL by a group of Pakistani investors, for $15 million. Omar Associate, a Karachi-based building company, secured Quetta for $11 million.
"I am delighted with these positive developments and this is a major achievement in our PSL journey," Najam Sethi, chairman of the PSL Governing Council, said after the bidding was complete. "The best part is that all team owners are ardent cricket fans and their dedication will make this league a success. HBL's association with PSL is another indication of established brands partnering with the league"
At least 80 percent of the revenue from the broadcast rights will be split equally among the five PSL franchises. The remaining 20 percent will go to the PCB. Similarly at least 50 percent of the revenue from the sponsorship rights will be shared among the franchises and the PCB will utilise the other 50 percent.
The franchises will also have access to 50 percent of the ticket sales at the gate. Interestingly, tournaments like IPL, and BPL give their franchises 100% of the revenue collected at the gate. But for PSL, that chunk is only 50% because PCB is bearing the cost of the venue in UAE with Pakistan forced to play their home games away from home.
Over 100 players and 10 coaches have signed up for the PSL. The final step, which is setting up the draft process, will take place later this month.