LAHORE - In a three and a half fold jump over what it earned in the last five years (around $42 million for 2004-08) from television rights, despite going through turbulent times, the PCB stands to earn $140.5 million for 2009-13 from the same Dubai-based satellite channel owned by Abdul Rehman Bukhatir, Ten Sports. Given the uncertainty that surrounds Pakistan cricket, indeed all Pakistan sports owing to terrorist threats, this indeed is a slice of good news, for despite the gloom it reflects that serious corporate entities still are willing to commit tens of millions of dollars to it. Since not just we but every cricketing nation these days compares its yields with India, our size being six times smaller (in absolute economic terms, population as well as households across the border having six television sets to one in Pakistan), this is a damn good deal. The Indian Board, known for its marketing savvy, cut a deal with Nimbus Sports for $600 million for a similar period but given the economic conditions was constrained to offer a $100 million discount - reducing the real worth to $500 million. Talking to this scribe from London, Ehsan Mani, the former ICC president and advisor to the Pakistan board on this marketing endeavour, spoke about the deal in most laudatory terms. "Keeping the global economic meltdown, with businesses and banks struggling all over the world, and especially Pakistan's geo-political conditions in perspective this is a pretty good deal. "Dollar for dollar, compared to India, given its size and corporate depth, this is great. Especially because given the grave situation of Pakistan's stock market these days, the bidders were aware of the fact that they would have to raise most of the revenue abroad", said Mani. According to Mani, the Pakistan board's three member team, with the marketing effort led by Dr Ahsan Hameed Malik and accounting and legal aspects followed up by Arif Kitchlew and Ahmad Hussain, was clinically thorough. "The PCB team was very professional. What is more, to ensure transparency, the same processes that the ICC applied were followed. The monitoring and evaluation of each and every aspect of all offers was done by an internationally reputed auditing firm, M/s. Earnst & Young," said Mani. For the uninitiated, Mani had spearheaded a similar exercise for the ICC for $1.2 billion and advised the West Indies Cricket Board for a TV rights deal that clinched the Caribbean cricket $80 million. In Pakistan's context, this is also important to keep in mind that the security situation may not allow most series to be played on home grounds, and starting with India in early 2009 (when the deal becomes effective), Pakistan's cricketers may be turned into nomads once again - this time perhaps for a far longer duration than they were in 2002 in the aftermath of 9/11. Since India is the first scheduled to visit, if it scuttles its trip, Australia would have pretty good ground to not come over in April - and that means no cricket for Pakistan for home soil in the short term at least. To quote Salim Altaf, the PCB CEO talking to a news agency, the Board was already considering alternate, neutral venues - perhaps at either or all of the desert emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.