PSL: In the eye of a Citizen

PSL is happening in Pakistan for the first time in 5 years. Wow. Great News. But, wait!!! Is it?

by Ms. Fizzah Khalid Butt

Belonging to a family where someone around is always into sports in one way or other, the most amazing entertainment in my early childhood was going to the stadium to watch a match with my dad. Over time I developed interest in sports and started playing. Fast forward, everything is going great, people are going about their lives and side by side matches are happening. Then there’s this attack on the Sri Lankan team and every sports-wise activity ends for Pakistan. Pakistan lost tourism, sports activity, and FDI, and many international banks shut down their businesses. This naturally affected Pakistan’s economy greatly.

PSL had a great start and it looked like PCB had spent a great amount of money and similarly the enthusiasm of the spectators was amazing. It surely is helping the country get back into sports. Teams from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka visited Pakistan in January 2020 and in 2019. The question arising here is what is the cost of getting the country this entertainment. I am an ardent sports lover, but there are economic and social costs to this that nobody seems to be giving any attention to them.

There are multiple aspects to this; we want peace in the country, but how long will we tolerate such events when our well-being is compromised. Movement of the teams means all routes are blocked, there are long queues of traffic and emergency vehicles are often stuck as well. These need to move to save lives but they can’t do anything other than waiting in traffic. Looking through the economic lens of a consumer it is sometimes a rip off as well. With petrol at PKR 117.89 per litre, people try to save money by turning their vehicles off rather than idling. But since no one knows when the queue will move again, they keep the engine idling and consume petrol.

Perspective two is an important perspective. Every single public place in a 2 km radius of Qadaffi stadium is closed. Qadaffi stadium Lahore has at least 12 restaurants in the surrounding areas and roughly 25 staff in each establishment. According to a restaurant owner, one day of loss for closure of stadium’s business is between PKR 2.5 and 3.0 crores. The establishment has a staff of 40, half of whom are on daily wages ranging between PKR 900 – 1,200. If the employee won’t take anything home in all those days throughout the PSL, how is he going to feed a family.

The PSL is a month long event and if restaurants don’t operate for half that time, that means an average loss of PKR 45 crores. This is borne by the businesses in the stadium alone. On average, we can expect the salary of a daily wage employee to get halved. The same scenario can be expected at Hafeez Center as well, yielding to a conservative guess of PKR 5 crores per day loss. This is a huge loss for even 15 days of the event happening in the city. All other small and medium businesses and their losses aside.

These calculations are only for Lahore, but we should expect similar estimates for other cities where the PSL is held. I think we can safely assume that during such events the business community is going to bear loses of roughly PKR 150 crores.

Just to be clear, nobody is against entertainment and tourism, but it is also important to check their opportunity cost. Government and city management should make sure their security systems are secure enough without making the average citizens’ life difficult. Tourism activity should increase, but not at the cost of the daily and economic life of people.

P.S. This piece reflects only on PSL and no other activities for now but every other such activity happening in these spaces is likely to bring about similar losses. Also, I might go watch a match.

4 comments

  1. Well what about revenue/employment geeration: Advertisment, commentators/experts, sports anchors and so on – looking at net income (revevune minus expense) rather the just the losses might be helpful.

    • Pakistanis have shown their immense enthusiasm in the event. It’s been like a mini World Cup for Pakistan.
      According to economic experts, PSL will be obliging in increasing the country’s feeble economy by producing money and generating revenue through sports tourism as well as promote a positive image of Pakistan. The businesses of airlines, textile industry, sports, advertisements, hotels and restaurants are actively participating in this league and gaining profits from it. Furthermore, the PCB and PSL itself are building money via the auction of title sponsorship, broadcasting rights, ticket sale and much more.

  2. Cost and benefit analysis shows although we are striving towards getting positive image, now the UK ambassador has just said in an interview that “UK team will come this year as well to Pakistan” yet to achieve more positivity,image Building, tourism & such activities it’s a long walk. If our government & administration made a counter plan and let the things remain open so that they could explore markets, meet & socialise people and interaction with players to common man would have a better chance but they i guess they hadn’t think that way. Need much stronger, firm and open sources and ways to roam freely as well protected.

  3. The concerns expressed by the author are valid and merit a serious consideration. First, it is safe to assume that those rooting for “Revenue and Employment generation” probably never got stuck in a PSL-induced rush hour traffic jam. Secondly, it’s incredibly naive (if not downright stupid) to think that the economic benefits generated by two-weeks of low quality cricket – that largely accrue to a handful bunch of corporate sycophants in PCB and HBL- outweigh the costs of disrupting the economic and social lives of thousands of people across the country in the name of entertainment.

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