The Battle of the T20 Leagues: Comparing IPL and PSL

As the eighth edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) begins on Monday, February 13, fans of both India and Pakistan are once again locked in a debate over which of the two T20 leagues - IPL or PSL - is bigger and more popular. To shed some light on this age-old argument, let's take a closer look at the two leagues and compare them on five key points.

Format: One of the major differences between IPL and PSL lies in the way teams are picked. While IPL operates on an auction system, PSL uses a draft system.

Player Salaries: When it comes to player salaries, the IPL has a clear edge over the PSL. The highest category in the PSL, Platinum, includes players like Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi, who earn around INR 1.30 crore. On the other hand, the IPL saw England's Sam Curran become the most expensive buy in its history after he was purchased for INR 18.50 crore by Punjab Kings in the 203 Mini Auction. Meanwhile, over INR 500 crores were spent by 10 IPL teams in the February 2022 Mega Auction. There are no team purses involved in the PSL as the league operates on a draft system.

Prize Money: IPL has the biggest prize money among all T20 leagues, with the championship winners in 2022 taking home INR 20 crore, while the runners-up received INR 12.5 crore. In comparison, the winner of the PSL gets INR 3.4 crore, while the runners-up get INR 1.5 crore.

TV Viewership: Despite a drop in TV viewership last year due to the league's return after just 6 months, the IPL still managed to attract 229 million viewers in just the first week of 2022, according to a IANS report. Meanwhile, 144 million viewers watched the entire PSL 7 in Pakistan, as per Sports Mind Media.

History and Legacy: IPL was first established in 2008, just six months after India won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. The league operates on a franchise model and is widely regarded as the first major T20 league in the world. On the other hand, the PSL was established in 2016, eight years after the first season of the IPL. Despite its relative youth, the PSL has quickly become one of the world's leading T20 leagues.

While both IPL and PSL have their own strengths, the IPL is clearly larger and more popular, with a longer history and legacy, as well as more money and TV viewership.