In a recent turn of events, Pakistan is set to receive an advertisement-free feed of the ongoing Test series in Australia. The broadcast coverage provided to the Pakistani market initially featured a gambling sponsor seamlessly integrated into the visuals.
This inclusion led to a surprising decision by the Pakistan state broadcaster, PTV, to refrain from broadcasting the first day of the Boxing Day Test. However, Ten Sports, another broadcasting entity with rights to air the series, continued to showcase the game.
The situation escalated when Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued a notification on Tuesday, explicitly prohibiting the broadcast and distribution of advertisements from surrogate companies promoting gambling or betting during sporting events televised in the country. This move raised concerns that the Test series might not be broadcast in Pakistan at all.
Despite these concerns, Ten Sports persisted in broadcasting the game from the beginning of the second day, featuring a betting sponsor’s overlay in the on-field coverage. Notably, ESPNcricinfo has learned that the feed provided to Pakistan will undergo modifications to exclude any advertisements that may violate local laws.
This adjustment theoretically allows PTV to resume live coverage, although at the time of writing, the state broadcaster has not yet resumed broadcasting.
PTV had issued a statement asserting their decision to pull coverage was in alignment with the government’s “zero tolerance policy” for surrogate advertising. The statement also mentioned that PTV had taken up the matter with the relevant broadcaster, expressing the intention to resume live telecast once the issue is resolved.