The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is poised to sign the Government’s newly rebranded bookmaker totesport as the first sponsor of National League – cricket’s flagship one-day county competition – since 2002.
The deal will come as a relief to the ECB, which failed to find a primary sponsor for the one-day competition last year. Instead, the organisation was forced to ask the individual county clubs to find local sponsors for their National League games. The last headline league sponsor was Norwich Union, which pulled out in 2002 to focus on its athletics programme (MW March 7, 2002).
The sponsorship deal will promote totesport, which is the new umbrella brand for the Tote’s 400 retail outlets and its telephone and online gambling divisions (MW March 11).
The ECB has struggled to find headline sponsors for its title events in a difficult sponsorship market. The organisation is still searching for a primary sponsor for its Twenty20 Cup tournament after mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse withdrew owing to complications with the existing sponsor npower (MW February 5).
There have also been signs of a sponsorship recovery elsewhere in the cricket market. The Telegraph Group signed as the official partner of the ECB and the England cricket team in a two-year deal, while Surrey Country Cricket Club recently signed Brit Insurance to sponsor its shirts and home ground in a deal worth up to &£1m a year (MW January 29).