ECB waves goodbye to Vodafone

on January 23, 2009 by Administrator

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is currently bracing itself for a very difficult year after Vodafone decided to pull the plug on its sponsorship of the England cricket team. Test sponsor, Npower, and major international backer, NatWest, have also threatened to turn their back on the nation’s most prestigious sport should the economic climate remain frosty.

It is admittedly an unlikely pairing: the second-largest mobile network operator in the world and the governing body of an age-old sport, but Vodafone and the ECB have enjoyed a long and illustrious partnership over the years.

Vodafone, who also sponsors the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team, has been an instrumental part of English cricket for almost twelve years now. The company has ploughed £16 million into the sport in the last four years alone.

The consumer director of Vodafone has stated that his company wishes to maintain its relationship with English cricket: “We are working with the ECB to develop a legacy programme at grassroots level which builds on the long-term investment we have made in the success of cricket across England and Wales."

A recent slump in annual profits has been blamed for Vodafone’s speedy departure from the sport. Recession has laid siege to much of the globe and the operator has been forced to look to redundancy as a quick-fire solution to its woes. An extensive restructuring of its marketing strategies is also on the cards.

The American billionaire, Sir Allen Stanford, has also expressed concerns about his future sponsorship of the sport after a number of PR experiments failed to produce positive results. English cricket has cost Mr. Stanford an estimated £40 million to date and the American may attempt to save face by terminating his contract with the ECB.

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