‘Virtual’ surrogate advertising threaten Melbourne Test broadcast

The state television is not broadcasting the opening day of Melbourne Test due to the issue

‘Virtual’ surrogate advertising threaten Melbourne Test broadcast PHOTO: AFP

Virtual surrogate advertising has ignited another dispute in Pakistan cricket, with the situation reaching a point that the state television is not broadcasting the Melbourne Test between Australia and Pakistan.

According to details, surrogate advertising made an entry into Pakistan cricket a few years ago when gambling websites made moderate changes in their names to get sponsorships. When the matter came to the attention of top officials, a ban was imposed.

After the ban on "surrogate advertising" in Pakistan, betting companies found new ways for their advertisements. No advertisements were painted in the field during the Perth Test, but in Pakistan, advertisements of betting companies were seen on state TV and other channels, known as "virtual advertising." These advertisements are displayed using software.

Upon media scrutiny, the government took notice and sought clarification from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which has given a justification for not having any connection with this matter. The Federal Ministry of Information and Broadcasting also released a memorandum to curb virtual surrogate betting advertising.

PTV also urged the media rights holders to stop the practice. If not, licences could be revoked. However, sources suggest no resolution has been reached in this regard.

Pakistan Tour to Australia, Test Series airing on PTV Sports

— PTV Sports (@PTVSp0rts) December 26, 2023

When Cricket Australia was approached to remove virtual advertisements and provide the live feed, a positive response was not received. It was maintained that virtual advertising feeds, excluding Australia, were being provided to all other countries during the ongoing series, making it impractical to modify it for Pakistan.

The issue was not resolved until late at night on Monday. The pre and post match shows on state television were also postponed.

As a result, the state television is not broadcasting the opening day of the Melbourne Test. However, it is being broadcasted on a private TV channel.

Sources said that during the second Test, the advertisement for 1xbat will not be seen. The reason, however, is separate from the recent dispute.