The Pakistan Super League (PSL) may be wildly successful from a sporting point of view, but from a financial point of view it is still struggling to stand on its own two feet. This is not particularly surprising; T20 cricketing leagues across the world – barring the global powerhouse that is the Indian Premier League (IPL) – have struggled to break even year after year. PSL is seeing its revenues increase and slowly moving towards sponsorship backed stability, but that milestone is still far away, and trouble is brewing at home.

The league’s financials aside, the franchises that play in it are faced with a similar predicament. All franchises is the PSL incurred big losses ranging from PKR 200 million to 700 million in the first two seasons and the deficit has yet to be plugged. The first owners of the Multan franchise pulled out after just one season, having believed to have made a loss of approximately PKR 400 million, leaving PSL in a lurch without a 6th team. A Multan Consortium, led by Ali Khan Tareen won the franchise rights for the 6th team, keeping Multan Sultans in the league but their financial troubles are not over yet.

It appears that the team participated in the fourth edition of the event without depositing the mandatory franchise fee of $6.35 million to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The fee, coupled with the multiple taxes on top of it, have been a constant bone of contenting between the franchise owners and the PCB, as the former claim that the exorbitant prices prevent them from turning a profit. However, outright failing to pay this fee, despite the apparently deep pockets of the consortium, is a much more serious problem.

The logistical cost of holding the matches are coming down and the revenue is going up as the league is being slowly shifted to Pakistan from the UAE, but until that is done; PCB must solve this financial stand-off, lest it sink the PSL with it.