Pakistan will finally be playing a series at home © AFP
Pakistan will finally be playing a series at home © AFP

Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) may have got the green signal from the Zimbabwean security delegation to go ahead with its first ODI series at home since 2009 but it is still facing great difficulties in selling off various rights for the series. A high level security delegation from Zimbabwe headed by the CEO of Cricket Zimbabwe Alistair Campbell visited Lahore to oversee security arrangements for the series of three ODIs and two T20 matches later this month at the Gaddafi stadium. READ: Zimbabwe will put up a great fight when they tour Pakistan, says Dav Whatmore

Campbell later told the media that the tour by Zimbabwe was on and they were satisfied with the security arrangements put in place by the hosts. Zimbabwe will become the first test playing nation to visit Pakistan since March, 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore killing six policemen and a van driver.

But a PCB official admitted that they were not finding enough interest in the market for the series. “We see the series as a significant development for Pakistan cricket unfortunately the same is not the case in the market,” the official said. READ:  Shoaib Malik hopeful of making international comeback in Pakistan-Zimbabwe series

An example of how low the sponsors or sports management companies are rating the series became evident last Monday when the PCB opened bids for sale of different rights including title sponsorship and ground rights. The board had set a reserve price of around $25,000 for the sale of text messaging rights for the series the best offer they got was $3,300.

The board had also set a reserve price of around $1.5 million for sale of all rights including ground and title sponsorship but they got only two bids priced at $250,000 and $150,000. The PCB has now revised its pricing and sent out letters to prospective bidders asking for a cut off price of around $ 1 million for sale of all rights excluding broadcasting rights.

“The board is finding it difficult to sell of rights for the Zimbabwe series and the reasons are obvious,” one marketing expert said. “Firstly Zimbabwe is not a crowd puller and secondly they are so many security issues with the tour sponsors or investors don’t want to invest large amounts in the venture,” he said.

Even the broadcaster of the series, Ten Sports is now trying to sell off media title and other rights by offering package including the Zimbabwe series and Pakistan?s tour to Sri Lanka. The PCB has had to shell out around USD 500,000 to pay for the expenses of the Zimbabwe team to make the tour possible. The amount includes match fees of the visiting players.

Zimbabwe will put up a great fight when they tour Pakistan, says Dav Whatmore