The Pakistan Super League (Urdu: پاکستان سپر لیگ; abbreviated PSL) is a professional Twenty20 cricket league contested during February and March of every year by six teams representing six cities in Pakistan. The league was founded on 9 September 2015 with five teams and now comprises six teams. Instead of operating as an association of independently owned teams, the league is a single entity in which each franchise is owned and controlled by investors. From 2021, The PSL will have an exclusive window in the ICC Future Tours Programme.
Each team playing matches in double round robin format; the top four teams with the best record qualify for the playoffs and culminates in the championship game, the PSL Cup Final. The league is based in the Pakistan Cricket Board office in Lahore.
In September 2015, the Pakistan Cricket Board officially announced the launch of the PSL. Former Pakistani national team captains Wasim Akram and Rameez Raja signed up to promote the PSL and become brand ambassadors of the league for three years.
After several years of planning and two previous failed attempts, the league officially began on 4 February 2016 in the United Arab Emirates where Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari, alongside Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, inaugurated the opening ceremony. The first two seasons included five teams based on the capital cities of Pakistan’s provinces and the Federal capital. In its first season the PSL had a higher percentage of international players. The league uses a draft system for player recruitment similar to that used in many North American professional sports leagues and as opposed to the auction system used in some other T20 leagues.
The PSL’s official logo was launched on 20 September 2015 in a ceremony in Lahore, and was revealed by 3Di. The ceremony was attended by current and retired cricketers, as well as Pakistani celebrities.
The commercial rights to the initial franchises were sold for US$93 million for a span of 10 years in December 2015. The market value of PSL in 2017 was up to US$300 million according to Arif Habib, and has grown significantly in the years since.
The possibility of adding a sixth team to the league in 2017, possibly in Azad Kashmir, was discussed, but rejected in May 2016. Sethi announced that there would be the sixth team in next season of PSL, a few days after the end of the 2017 PSL. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra also announced that the PSL administration would be approached for the participation of a sixth team in the 2018 PSL. Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman, chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, also said to have the sixth team from Gilgit-Baltistan. The PCB short-listed five names for sixth team: Faisalabad, FATA, Hyderabad, Dera Murad Jamali and Multan.
The final name of the sixth team for PSL 2018 season was announced on 1 June 2017; Multan Sultans; owned by Schön Properties at $5.2 million annually. On 10 November 2018, PCB terminated franchise agreements with Schön Properties, resulting in a new owner being introduced.