Inept PCB may destroy PSL brand, fears Sethi
Former PCB chairman Najam Sethi during an interview with 24 Digital. photo by Sheraz Ahmed
Former Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Najam Aziz Sethi has feared that inefficient approach by the PCB may destroy Pakistan Super League's brand value.
Sethi, a renowned journalist, publisher, TV personality, former Marxist, strong administrator, and big cricket buff, was able to deliver the biggest and most exciting product in Pakistan's history, the PSL despite harsh criticism and hurdles.
He not only delivered the PSL brand to Pakistan cricket that has produced several stars for Pakistan cricket and played a key role in bringing international cricket back to the country but also this brand has created waves in the international cricket and has become among top T20 Leagues in the world despite mushroom growth of such leagues.
In Pakistan, the PSL always brought a mood of festivity and excitement despite being staged in the UAE, a feature that is crucially missing since the last edition.
Talking exclusively to the 24 Digital, Sethi agreed that the PSL is now failing to create that kind of hype, enthusiasm, and passion despite being fully staged in the country for the first time that was the distinct feature of this brand during his time.
"We always kept our focus on brand marketing. Alongside this, I always stressed to develop a media strategy as well to create a thrilling environment around the brand. We engaged media fully by giving them access to players and all other PSL related activities; published articles, interviews, and pictures. It indeed cost some money but this spending brings big rewards. You get better advertisement rates and increased revenues from broadcasting rights that make it more profitable."
Sethi said a successful marketing and media strategy not only helped him develop a brand but also equally helped the advertisers and other stakeholders to reap the benefits and this had made the PSL a valuable brand.
However, he lamented that the current PCB and PSL administration has done nothing to add value to the PSL brand and it is stagnating at the same point where he had left it.
"A brand needs continuous revival to stay afresh otherwise people lose interest in it. It is why brand marketing is imperative for keeping a brand afloat and successful."
Sethi said a lot of quality international players are coming to Pakistan but still people are in dark about who is coming, who has arrived and who will play for which team. He said the schedules have been finalised long ago but due to lack of publicity, the fans don't know about the itinerary, security measures, and routes to reach the venues.
"We created a lot of hype through giving top class anthems to the PSL as Ali Zafar-sung anthems are still popular among the fans. Even the current administration failed to provide a decent anthem that could enthuse and enthral the masses. The new PSL anthem 'Tayar Hein' is not at par with the standards of the PSL and is another example of how slow and unmotivated the current administration is when it comes to marketing the PSL brand."
Sethi said this lacklustre approach of the PCB would harm the PSL brand and everyone including advertisers and broadcasters would end up bearing the losses and the stadiums would remain empty to further portray a bad image of both the PSL and the Pakistan cricket.
Rationalise security measures
He said it seems the board is banking only on the PSL franchise for the brand advertising but they should understand that the franchise would advertise their own brand only and would promote them only and the PCB needs to market the tournament brand by them.
The month-long PSL this year is being staged at four different venues in four major cities and the presidential level security measures promised by the PCB would certainly hamper the everyday life and economic activities as well.
Sethi suggested that now the security situation has much improved and there are minimum terror threats out there to counter with so the security measures should be rationalised to create minimum disturbances to the common people life.
"You are holding a month-long tournament and if you took the same security measures as we had to take on day one, the masses would be irked and the whole project would backfire. The novelty of the PSL would be faded and people would lose interest in the league and that would be a great blow to the brand value. Much has been changed since we first staged the PSL final in Lahore, and the PCB and the security agencies must revisit the security blueprint and traffic should be closed only for half an hour before and