Pakistan Super League (PSL) was launched last year on a success note amid appreciations from fans, cricket gurus and legendary cricketers. But just one year to its birth, the league has become a high-flying sporting event on several fronts.
Statistically, not sensitively, speaking the PSL is now the second most followed cricket league, leaving behind other prominent leagues including one from the country affiliated in the ‘Big Three’ group – a body (now dissolved) formed to govern the world cricket.
The rapid evolution of the digital world has no bounds and it literally helps one analyze impacts of any venture. PSL has drawn a whole new legion of fan following online, not just from across Pakistan, but worldwide.
If we just take a look at the official Facebook and Twitter pages of the all major cricket leagues – Indian Premier League, Caribbean Premier League, Big Bash League, Bangladesh Premier League – the fan-base of PSL stands out distinctively.
IPL is an exception because of its outrageously large budget and investment from its sponsors and it was launched about ten years ago. But PSL, which came to life just a year ago, has surpassed various prominent leagues like BPL, BBL, CPL in fan following.
The Facebook page likes of PSL currently stands at 2.99 million. And in contrast, CPL has 2.4 million in four years of its inception, Big Bash has 1.9 million, while BPL and NatWest T20 blast have 0.50 million and 0.52 million respectively.
The inaugural edition of PSL took place last year February and its growing very quickly that in just one year of time span it has beaten all other cricket leagues of the world in terms of online following. As the fan following of PSL is increasing quickly fans from different regions of the world are now waiting for the 2nd edition of PSL. The current figures of PSL fans are 2.99 M which is more than any other cricketing league including BBL and CPL, PSL is now the 2nd most followed cricketing league in the world after IPL which already have 9 seasons whereas PSL just have 1 season.
Let’s take a statistical look on fan following of all the leagues and a brief look at their origin.
PSL and its growing fan-base
The Pakistan Super League (PSL) is a professional franchise Twenty20 mens cricket league. The league is headquartered in Lahore and as of 2016 consists of five franchises nominally representing cities in Pakistan. It is operated by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and was established in 2016. Due to the security situation in Pakistan the first season of the league operated entirely in the United Arab Emirates.
Instead of operating as an association of independently owned teams, the league is a single entity in which each franchise is owned and controlled by investors. The commercial rights to the initial franchises were sold for Rs 985 crores ($91.4 million) for a span of 10 years in December 2015.
Islamabad United were crowned champions of the inaugural PSL season, defeating Quetta Gladiators in the final on 23 February 2016.
As we all know that PSL Season 2 will kick off from 9th of Feb 2017 in UAE. There are some facts which can’t be ignored that PSL is the 2nd most followed online Cricketing League in the world in just 1 year. Cricket is not being played in Pakistan from last 10 years due to security reasons but still cricketing fans knows the importance of Pakistan Cricket and its very own Pakistan Super League.
There is another fact that it’s the most watched cricketing league in Pakistan during its first edition as it beat all other genres whether its news or entertainment during the time it aired. The fans excitement is expected to sky high especially when the PSL management move to hold event final in Lahore materializes.
The Official Sound Track of PSL Season 2 which was sung by Ali Zafar is also released earlier this month. PCB is expecting that it will take around 2-3 years to completely shift the league from UAE to Pakistan.
IPL and the money game
The 2008 Indian Premier League season was the debut season of league. It was established by the BCCI in 2007. The season commenced on 18 April 2008 with the final match held on 1 June 2008. The competition started with a double round robin group stage, in which each of the 8 teams played a home match and an away match against every other team. These matches were followed by two semi-finals and a final.
IPL has 18.4 million following online, and understandably so. However, given the hefty budget and so much spending, the numbers of its followers still look relatively low. The event has so far had nine seasons.
Caribbean Premier League also in the race
The Caribbean Premier League (abbreviated to CPL or CPLT20) is an annual Twenty20 cricket tournament held in the West Indies. It was created in 2013 and replaced the Caribbean Twenty20 as the premier Twenty20 competition in the Caribbean.
The inaugural tournament was won by the Jamaica Tallawahs who defeated the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final. The CPL has 2.41 millions of followers on Facebook.
Big Bash and its popularity
The Big Bash League (BBL, also known as the KFC Big Bash League for sponsorship reasons) is an Australian professional Twenty20 cricket league, which was established in 2011 by Cricket Australia.
The Big Bash League replaced the previous competition, the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash, and features eight city-based franchises instead of the six state teams which had participated previously. Around 1.9 million users follow the league on popular social networking website Facebook.
Bangladesh Premier League is just another competitor
The Bangladesh Premier League is also a professional Twenty20 cricket league established in 2012 by Bangladesh Cricket Board.
The Bangladesh Premier League replaced the previous competition, National Cricket League T20, and features seven city-based franchises, instead of six division teams which had participated previously.
The English league ‘NatWest T20 Blast’
The NatWest T20 Blast is a Twenty20 cricket league in England and Wales run by the ECB from 2014. The league consists of the 18 first-class county teams divided into two divisions of nine teams each.
This setup, which was first announced in November 2013, replaced the Friends Life t20 competition as the main domestic Twenty20 competition in England and Wales. The league is followed by 0.50 million people on Facebook.