PCB appoints consortium involving McDonald and Norris as PSL production partner
The Pakistan Cricket Board has appointed the consortium of Pakistan’s Tower Sports and Singapore’s SportzWorkz as its broadcast production partner for this year's HBL Pakistan Super League having split with previous incumbent IMG Reliance in a contract dispute.
Under the appointment, which followed what the PCB described as "an open and transparent tender process," the two operations will oversee production of the fifth edition of the Twenty20 competition, starting later this month, and train Pakistani cameramen and technical crew.
The production team will be headed up by experienced broadcasting executives Chris McDonald, the chairman of SportzWorkz, and Steve Norris.
McDonald is well-versed in cricket in Asia having previously been a senior vice-president at the former joint venture broadcaster ESPN Star Sports and chief executive and one of the founding members of Ten Sports, now Sony Ten, at the start of the century.
Similarly, Norris was head of production at Ten Sports, producing Pakistan home matches from 2000 to 2006, and subsequently spent 12 years at UK telecoms giant BT, helping to launch the BT Sport channel in 2013, serving as head of sports commercial rights.
McDonald said: “A part of our commitment to the PCB and to Pakistan itself is to train local TV production professions on delivering state of the art, top level, international live cricket production. We will be developing local capacity by conducting on venue and classroom style training during the PSL for Pakistan professionals interested in having a career in sports production. Our goal, simply put, is to have a majority Pakistani crew in two to three years from now.”
PSL project executive Shoaib Naveed added: “Since the very first HBL PSL season, we have endeavoured to provide world-class production for our fans and media partners and this year, with the wealth of experience that Tower Sports and SportzWorkz bring with their team, we aim to further enhance our production experience.”
The move comes on the back of PCB parting company with previous production partner IMG Reliance, the joint venture between IMG, the international sports and entertainment company, and Reliance Industries, the Indian conglomerate.
Last year, IMG Reliance pulled out of its PSL production contract in the wake of a terror attack in Pulwama in the disputed territory of Kashmir that killed over 40 Indian police officers. The PCB was forced to find a replacement at the competition’s mid-point and ultimately appointed a consortium of Blitz Advertising and Trans Group.
In November, the PCB filed legal proceedings against IMG Reliance.
In previous years, for security reasons, the PSL has been split between the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, but the whole of this year's competition will take place in the home country, from 20 February to 20 March.