Dubai-based Ten Sports (Taj Entertainment Network) has bagged the television rights for matches in Pakistan over the next five years, in a deal worth US$140.5 million.
Ten Sports, along with ARY, held the rights during the previous period from 2004 to 2008. "It is an excellent deal for a period of five years and starts with the home series against India," Salim Altaf, the PCB's chief operating officer, said. "The process of bidding is based on optimum situation which is that all teams will tour Pakistan as per schedule and if teams do not come to Pakistan we have the option of playing at the neutral venue."
India's tour, though, is currently in doubt with security concerns. Pakistan have not played a Test in 2008, and besides the Asia Cup, the only home contests for them this year were five-match ODI series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Australia postponed their tour earlier this year, and the Champions Trophy has been delayed until 2009.
If India pull out of the tour for security reasons, it effectively means no established team will tour Pakistan for the foreseeable future. "We are very much optimistic the tour will go ahead as planned," Altaf said. However, he added the PCB was also considering organising the series in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates should India refuse to tour.