How does the Pakistan Super League fare against the Indian Premier League?

Published: February 4, 2016

If PSL were happening in Pakistan, you would expect it to slot right under IPL in the T20 league pantheon but the Pakistan Cricket Board faces a huge challenge, financially and logistically, of organising the league in UAE. Attracting crowds in a non-cricketing country will see PSL struggle in terms of generating ticket revenue while on the other hand, the logistical costs are also going to be higher.

It has been a long time coming but the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is finally here… well, almost.

Ever since it was first propositioned, during Dr Nasim Ashraf’s tenure as PCB chairman in 2007-2008 – note that the Indian Premier League (IPL) had its first season in 2008 – the Pakistani cricket fan has been anxiously waiting for his own version of the star-studded, cheerleader-crammed, boundaries-brimmed T20 feast.

This delay of seven years has resulted in Pakistan being the last Test playing nation to jump on the Franchise-T20-League bandwagon even though suggested otherwise. England also does not have a franchise based tournament but given the structure of domestic cricket there, the NatWest T20 Blast almost qualifies.

IPL might not be the oldest but is clearly the grand-daddy of all T20 leagues. It is also the frontrunner by a long mile when it comes to all things financial. The Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) is currently second in terms of number of people following the tournament, whereas the Big Bash League (BBL) does the best job of getting bums on the seats in the ground. NatWest T20 Blast, Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Ram Slam T20 Challenge form a supposedly second tier of the leagues; and while New Zealand’s Georgie Pie Super Smash has been an important platform for its stars, it doesn’t get enough coverage outside the country. Sri Lanka scrapped its Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL) after one season as it wasn’t financially viable.

Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi have been given the added role of being brand ambassadors for the PSL and their teams.
Photo: AFP

The announcement of PSL teams being sold for $93m – welcoming news – led the cynic in me to dwell on how it compared with the likes of IPL and BPL.

Let’s delve into that a bit further;

Team Price Tags

Just to warm up the conversation a little bit, Pune Warriors in 2010 was sold for a staggering $370 million. But a fairer comparison would be to see how much the first IPL teams went for when the league started in 2008. The total money generated by IPL during its first team auction was $723.5 million which equates to an average of $90.45 million per team as opposed to PSL’s $18.6 million. It is worth noting here that the franchise rights for the PSL teams are for 10 years whereas the IPL teams were sold outright. Nevertheless, the IPL teams went for five times as much as the PSL teams – make of it what you may.

First team auction for Bangladesh Premier League fetched $6.49 million (average team price $1.08 million) and that for Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) roped in $30.15 million (average team price $4.3 million for seven year rights).

So overall, PSL didn’t do all that bad on that account.

Prize Money

The second metric worth comparing is the prize money – PSL has announced that it will offer up to $1 million in prize money. IPL in its first season offered a total prize money of $3 million, of which the winning team took away about $1.2 million. This was a significant improvement over the initial reports of prize money of $0.7 million for the winner – more or less in line with what the PSL is offering. The IPL prize money might have been increased after the better-than-expected response to the team auction. The current prize money for IPL stands at $6 million with the winners roping in a cool $2.2 million.

BPL in its third season offered $1.5 million in total with the winner netting in $0.7 million. The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) also offers prize money around the $1 million mark. The offering of the Big Bash League was previously lower, but it significantly increased the prize money this year to $0.89 million in total with the winners taking home just under half a million.

Here again, PSL seems to be at par with most of the other leagues. Good news.

Players’ Salaries

What is in it for the players?

It is a widely held belief that the biggest beneficiaries of these franchise based T20 leagues are the players. These leagues have given the best T20 players from across the world an opportunity to earn decent livelihoods or insane amounts of money, depending on which school of thought you belong to, as journeyman players with no strings attached. The primary target for a league should be to attract the best players in the world because that, in theory, shall lead to a high viewership.

PSL decided to hold a draft instead of a player auction, which according to some was a sign of low confidence in the franchises. The official statement was that the Pakistan Cricket Board didn’t want to risk the balance of teams in the tournament and was concerned about the financial viability for all stakeholders. Fair concern!

The top players in the tournament; Platinum Category will earn $140,000 with five icon players earning an undisclosed extra amount for being the face of their respective teams.

IPL, again, is a clear front runner here with Yuvraj Singh bagging $2.67 million for the 2015 season and $2.33 million for the 2014 season. Even in the first season, MS Dhoni managed to bag a $1.5 million deal.

Photo: Reuters

These days, you can expect the top 20 to 25 players in IPL to earn in excess of $1 million. As it stands today, BPL is the second most lucrative franchise for top players; Afridi managed to clinch for himself a $700,000 deal at the inaugural BPL while Gayle was the second most expensive at over half a million dollars.

Photo: AFP

Chris Gayle, though, was the most expensive at both the BBL and SLPL’s first season with price tags of $250,000 and $100,000 respectively.

Photo: Reuters

PSL lags significantly behind the two major leagues in this regard and is just about at par with the others. I hope that we will see an improvement in the player salaries in the seasons to come, and that shall help PSL attract even more international stars.

Conclusion of sorts

If PSL were happening in Pakistan, you would expect it to slot right under IPL in the T20 league pantheon but the PCB faces a huge challenge, financially and logistically, of organising the league in the UAE. Attracting crowds in a non-cricketing country will see PSL struggle in terms of generating ticket revenue while on the other hand, the logistical costs are also going to be higher.

A bunch of T20 cricket’s stars will be on show in Dubai and Sharjah at the PSL in February.
Photo: AFP

Given those constraints, what we have seen so far is impressive and promising. In most financial metrics, while PSL may be unable to hold its own against the IPL, and understandably so, the offerings are comparable to the remaining leagues and that is a good start for the young league. Let us hope PSL signals the start of good times for Pakistan cricket.

PS: PSL easily has the best team logos of all leagues and relatively more imaginative team names (thanks to Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi); and I don’t care if anyone thinks that is a subjective assessment – a team in the IPL is called Rising Pune Supergiants for crying out loud!

Kamran Afzal

Kamran Afzal

The author is a marketer by profession, cricket enthusiast by passion, and a-lot-of-other-things by hobby. It's easy to see he likes to waste a lot of time on cricket. He occasionally blogs at He tweets as @kamiafzal (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent Analysis.
    Fair & Square….kudos kamran!Recommend

  • M. Kamran Afzal

    Thanks Drift_King…Recommend

  • LS

    For PSL to have better margins it needs to work in Pakistan. It would lead to better:
    1) Larger Ticket sales
    2) Larger advertising revenue
    3) Investment in the infrastructure, such as stadiums, roads
    4) Improvement in security setup and need to become stable
    5) Secondary and Tertiary investments and businesses that come about because of event being hosted in Pakistan – Like, food industry, Sports goods, event management folks, renters, suppliers of various paraphernalia like sound systems, viewing arena’s and so on…

    The employment generated by these secondary and tertiary businesses is much more than the primary event. Even though the event is for short period of time but preparation and planning consume quite a bit of time and generates revenue and employment.Recommend

  • Fawad

    thanks for patting own backRecommend

  • Linux Novice

    No comparison at all. Lol, comparing with 2009 levels in 2016 and yet can’t reach anywhere near. I see a better future for Bangladesh Premier League.Recommend

  • Wasim

    PSL has the best team logos & names of all leagues.

  • Jasvinder Singh Marwaha

    But you always claimed that Pakistan was India’s match in every way- why is it a fraction here?Recommend

  • Sridhar Kaushik

    Stop comparing the 2.
    IT is like comparing Raja Bhoj and Gangu Teli!Recommend

  • Sridhar Kaushik

    This PSL joke is being held outside Pakistan.
    Does that not tell you something about the state of affairs in Pakistan?Recommend

  • Fahim

    With all the analysis you done, you left inflation for IPL (IPL was launched in 2008 and you are comparing its prices with 2015). Best marker would be inflation adjusted numbers of IPL for 2015.
    Then we might have the right comparison. Just to give perspective I applied simple inflation of 9% (average for last 7 years) for 2008 IPL financials, per team cost comes to $148 million. That is apple to apple comparison. You should give true picture in your analysis. ThanksRecommend

  • M. Kamran Afzal

    I think the writeup endorses the opinion that IPL is miles ahead. Why so defensive and insecure about IPL ?!Recommend

  • M. Kamran Afzal

    It doesn’t say that one is better or worse than the other… it just says that one is X and the other is Y. Make of it what you may.
    Don’t worry, PSL is not threatening IPL… you may relax.Recommend

  • M. Kamran Afzal

    And I hope it happens sooner rather than later.Recommend

  • neehesh

    India is much bigger country and economy so comparison is a bit unfair. All the best for PSLRecommend

  • Umer Hashmi

    Well i think everyone knows that one full ipl season happened in SA and one half season in do i say more?Recommend

  • crm

    that was not because of terror threat. It was National elections that time.Recommend

  • Anoop

    You forgot the metric: How many jobs, both direct and indirect, were created due to the IPL? Compare then to projections for PSL. This is all that matters.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    It is like telling the Americans not to be insecure of Pakistan when told there is no comparison.

    Good Luck though.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    The reasons are different though:

    Pakistan- Osama, Hafiz Saeed, Attack on New Zealand and Sri Lankan teams and so on.

    India: General Elections.Recommend

  • M. Kamran Afzal

    Well, I agree with you; but this was essentially just a little “exercise” to make sense of the $93m plus some other numbers.
    Because once you start talking about adjustments, there are many other “adjustments” that one can argue should be made. Team owners pay money because they know they will generate revenue through gate money, selling advertising rights etc. Then one can talk about adjustments for expected attendance (Dubai & Sharjah are smaller grounds compared to most in India); one can also adjust to population sizes – a proxy for the number of people the advertisers will reach. Et cetera, et cetera.

    But thanks… your insight is appreciated :)Recommend

  • M. Kamran Afzal

    Can’t disagree with that. But that’s too much work. I won’t do those sorts of comparisons for free ;)Recommend

  • M. Kamran Afzal

    Agreed, neheesh…
    but it was just to make sense of some numbers.

    and thanks :)Recommend

  • Khan

    I Feel Sorry For You Indians So Insecure That You Just Have To Come On Pakistani Websites Just To Post IdiocitiesRecommend

  • Adil

    The fact that you mention “american” says alot about how comfortable you feel in your skinRecommend

  • Linux Novice

    Lol, to even consider that notion one must be a lunatic!Recommend

  • Hassan

    Your comment clearly shows that money can’t buy class……Recommend

  • Linux Novice

    PSL should organise after IPL in future as if any players like say Watson gets injured playing PSL and is unable to participate in IPL they will start to avoid PSL. Recommend

  • Linux Novice

    May be in Pakistan you take “amused” to be worried?! Recommend

  • Linux Novice

    Congrats , you have that atleast!Recommend

  • Reddy

    this comparison is wrong on many counts …first IPL teams do not survive on ticket counters or selling team gear….in fact brand endorsements of teams are enough to break-even and in few years one or two franchises might go public….in a nut shell…current IPL teams if they go public on a good day wud be valued in excess of $10 billion….
    moreover IPL’s revenue model pretty much looks after itself, it doesn’t need any hand holding from any entity as suchRecommend

  • Ahmer Najam

    Dear Mr. Sridhar,

    First thing you need to do is to learn ethics and etiquette for participation in conversation. It seems that you haven’t had a chance to acquire these essentials things. Anyways, it’s not too late. You’re our neighbor and it’s our duty to teach good things to you. Our country will overwhelmingly welcome you to teach some manners. So if you have time try to contact me.


  • Rajiv

    Why this PSl is outside Pak? Aren’t there any stadia in Pak?Recommend

  • Rajiv

    Nice comparisonRecommend

  • Rajiv

    What is wrong in what Sridhar said? He has put honest words.Recommend

  • M. Kamran Afzal

    Only $10 billion?? I’m sure they would go for at least “5 hazaar crore” dollar… Balaji Telefilms and Ekta Kapoor will be proud…

    Sorry, couldn’t resist ;) …Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    What else should I say, Chinese or Saudis?

    Btw, my skin is not much different to yours, the difference is I do not identify myself with the Arabs while chanting anti american slogans on one hand while holding a bowl in the other.Recommend

  • Rocky Sikander

    BURRRRRRRRRRNNN XD ! ! !Recommend

  • UKmuslim786

    There is no match with the rate of gang rapes in india Recommend

  • UKmuslim786

    Yeah well done bro. Good analysis.

    Also I knew it won’t be long before we got jelous hateful comments from IndiansRecommend

  • UKmuslim786

    No . It’s the cricket that matters. And improving the pak team. Recommend

  • UKmuslim786

    No corruption Recommend

  • UKmuslim786

    No thanks. Keep your advice to yourself Recommend

  • Linux Novice

    Ha ha ha, as if I was imposing something!Recommend

  • Linux Novice

    Pakistan and no corruption?! Wake-up and smell the coffee, lol.Recommend

  • M. Kamran Afzal

    Thanks, mate… and I don’t know why they are so insecure when the article clearly says that IPL does better financially.
    Maybe they’re just trolling.Recommend

  • LS

    1. It is a comment section of a blog. You can respond to a comment but that DOES NOT become conversation.
    2. A reality check has nothing to do with Manners. I think it is you who responded to the comment needs to learn manners since you are insulting the OP with a PERSONAL Jibe by offering him to “TEACH” Manners.

    So long…Recommend

  • Punjabi Troll

    I agree. We should respect each other.
    love for PSL. I am from Punjab india. Recommend

  • Irfan Khan

    O come one Guys..! spare the dude if he dared a little math while mentioning PSL and IPL. Enjoy the cricket, may that be in India or in Pakistan. Is it necessary to make a battle ground out of everything..!?.. I am a Pakistani and I love watching IPL with interest without even thinking who makes how much money and who plays against whom.. hell with all that stuff and hatred. If you Indian fellows don’t like PSL don’t watch (simple) but please spare your not-so-expert comments. Thank you… For my countrymen : STOP REACTING TO EVERY NON-SENSE PLEASE.Recommend

  • rationalising argument.

    yes we like to troll pakistanis.Recommend

  • LS

    That was a classy “Reality Check” comment – It just hurt you in all the wrong places and your comment was poor in taste.Recommend

  • waqas

    I don’t understand why we r comparing with IPL is some kind of jealousy? well we love cricket so we respect at the both way.Recommend

  • OJ

    You just proved kamran correct!!
    “How intelligent of you”Recommend

  • OJ

    Here is LS prolonging the ‘conversation’ and insulting a comment, how hypocritical!!Recommend

  • LS

    I care less with comparison, there is no point in comparison… I just disliked his Manners diatribe. In fact a few comments down I was saying how it would be more profitable for PSL to be in Pakistan…Recommend

  • Uzair Afridi

    well well well i love my country men, because they are sensible, clever and most importantly the talk unbiased and on the stats and facts but really having indians in the comment section are ruining this wonderful pakistani discussion by posting some bazaro comments as they are reflecting their mental growths in india as sridhar kaushak is more enjoying his tapori comments in them…………..Recommend

  • Lakhan Landae

    You need to know the facts before you comment that we make enough money in our own country. We don’t have to schedule our Indian Matches in other countries, even if we do in countries like UAE and South Africa, we do it coz we give opportunity for all those NRIs to watch live matches at their convenience…Recommend

  • Lakhan Landae

    Agree with you!Recommend

  • Lakhan Landae

    During all the fights and acts of Tom & Jerry, Jerry always thinks that it the best! We can’t change somebody’s thoughts… Hope you understood what i meant, ENJOY….!!Recommend

  • Lakhan Landae

    Indeed that would be a better step by the government. So that it create some amount of employment to your people.Recommend

  • Lakhan Landae

    Hahahahahha lolRecommend

  • Lakhan Landae

    There is no harm in commenting. When you don’t like to accept other’s views then you shouldn’t have had posted this on public blog. First learn how and where crowd to attract then post things…Recommend

  • sParthiv

    Like there is no match with the rate terrorists blow themselves up in Pakistan Recommend

  • Adil

    Dear sridhar,
    Always remember raja dahir and Muhammad bin qasim….pirthivi raj and shahabuddin ghouri and sultan Muhammad ghaznavi and………Recommend

  • Emran

    can you seen :) what gangu teli have done …. hahahahRecommend

  • sridhar

    Did you understand the hindi proverb or you are just a retard reacting in a knee jerk fashion?
    what part of my conversation is not ethical or bereft of etiquette?
    Looks like I have to learn this from people who are well known for not possessing any of these qualities.
    If you know how to respond logically do so otherwise just shut your trap.Recommend

  • sridhar

    I am only saying that this kind of comparison should stop.
    IPL has been around for many years now and is a successful venture.
    This PSL thing just started.
    It is like comparing apples and oranges.Recommend

  • M. Kamran Afzal

    Agreed. But if you actually read through, the comparison is not just with IPL – IPL is just a benchmark that is referred to at many places.
    Actually the only thing that triggered me to do the comparison was to make sense of the numbers that were being thrown around.
    No one’s trying to prove that one is “better” than the other.Recommend

  • arsalan khan

    I think we should not compare PSL with IPL.. Just like there is no comparison in Pakistani Fast Bowlers with Indian Bowlers.. Somethings are just incomparable..Recommend

  • human

    Each one of u should learn to mind ur own business. By trying to prove that someone is lesser than you actually shows your class Recommend

  • idontno

    no thank you… Recommend

  • KrushnaalPai

    Currently only amir is bowling well….others are less than avg.Recommend

  • Raghu Reddy

    Who is preventing Pak from hosting PSL in their own backyards? Guess, nation to them is most important than some stupid money? But again ,what is nation if we cannot good payment to citizens for expressing their ability?
    Easily PSL top earnings can rise 10 times if Pak is the host. I mean U guys r somehow more richer than us. U dont’t have Bihar,Jharkhand,chattisgard or NE states which r poor because they r tribal in nature.
    Its your ego which is stopping you guys from hosting a match in Pak.
    In PSL, hosted in Pak, top player can go for 1.5Million USD easily. I bet my neck for it. Recommend

  • Pavan

    Pakistan is a failed country so chillRecommend

  • Sasindran Ayadakandiyil

    I fuly endorse your view my Bro !………….Some of my compatriots always try to find JINGOISM when comparing ! …….. As a cricket lower , I am missing top rated Pakistani players in IPL ……….. Good Wishes !Recommend

  • Anmol Choudhary

    Kamran you have nicely put the stats here. Really love the way you compare the two biggies honestly.
    This is what a true journalism is.
    If you guys keep on raising such issues like why the PSL can not be organised in Pakistan due to security issues.
    I guess if media keep on raising question on national security interests you may get rid of the terror outfits sitting in your country. Which will not only help you to prosper, but betters the relationship with India.Recommend

  • Ashish Ahuja

    one thing is sure with all pakistanis, they suffer from inferiority complex and also never accept this complex. title says comparison with IPL but then author brings in comparison with other leagues as well. in UAE you had empty stands…where as ipl in SA was super hit! accept it whats wrong in it….Recommend


    Its 2nd successive Year of PSL …What do u think now Mr. Kamran Afzal?Recommend

  • Akhil Golikeri

    Lol dude , stating facts isn’t patting one’s self on the back Recommend

  • LS

    Then the person who insulted the OP should not have done so. Why is showing the mirror bad? Typical case of acting like a victim when things aren’t going your way?Recommend