PSL brings in remarkable TV figures

More than half of Pakistan's TV-watching public tuned in for inaugural season of the PSL

AAP & Cricket Network

26 February 2016, 04:36 PM

The inaugural Pakistan Super League has been an unexpected success, even though all the matches were played in the United Arab Emirates due to security risks.

Since the first ever PSL T20 competition was announced last September, the country's cricket board has sold the five franchises for $US93 million ($A128 million) and attracted players from 11 countries.

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They include big names like Australians Shane Watson and Brad Haddin, West Indies batsman Chris Gayle as well as former international stars Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka and England's Kevin Pietersen.

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The biggest surprise, however, has been the response from Pakistan's public.

Since matches began in the UAE on February 4, national television viewing figures have been higher than those for the 2015 World Cup, with 55 per cent of Pakistan's TV-watching public tuning into the tournament at peak times.

While figures aren't entirely accurate, it was estimated in 2013 that around two-thirds of Pakistan's 182 million people had access to cable television, which translates to around 65 million people tuning in to the PSL during peak periods

Fans gathered to watch the final on big screens placed in market places throughout major cities in a charged atmosphere previously only seen for Pakistan’s international matches.

And Tuesday's final Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators in Dubai - which Haddin's Islamabad won by six wickets - was sold out.

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"Big businesses have bought the franchises, millions of people have tuned in even though the matches aren't in Pakistan, and our own young cricketers are getting a chance to rub shoulders with giants," PSL chairman Najam Sethi told Reuters.

"This is the most extraordinary moment for Pakistani cricket since we were exiled from the international game."

It is still unclear when the PSL will be able to stage its first match on home soil.

Pakistan has been forced to play designated 'home' matches primarily in the United Arab Emirates since 2009 after the Sri Lankan team was ambushed by Taliban militants while travelling from their hotel to Lahore's Gaddafi stadium for a Test match.