Cricket: Advertising trial for Test sight-screens: Play and display takes guard

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OLD TRAFFORD, Headingley and The Oval have been chosen for the introduction of sight-screen advertising for this summer's Ashes series against Australia in a pilot study by the Test and County Cricket Board.

Traditional sight-screens - which help batsmen pick up the flight of the ball - will be replaced by 'Tri-vision' boards with revolving displays.

The blank face will serve as a normal sight-screen. But between overs, and when the bowling is at the other end, advertisements will be shown.

Terry Blake, the TCCB marketing manager, is hoping that sight-screen advertising will not cause too much of a stir. 'There is already a lot of perimeter advertising and I don't thing these screens will cause any great distraction,' he said.

National Grid is to sponsor the umpires in this summer's Ashes series between England and Australia.

Umpires officiating in the Cornhill Insurance Tests and Texaco Trophy one-day internationals will wear the National Grid Company 'pylon' logo on their traditional white coats, starting at Old Trafford on 19 May.

Dickie Bird and Co will benefit from a sponsorship deal, worth more than pounds 75,000, between the NGC and the TCCB.

NGC is also sponsoring the inaugural International Cricket Council umpires' conference at Birmingham on 3 and 4 August.

The conference will be chaired by the NGC director, John Hatch, who said: 'This new venture by ICC fits into our sponsorship programme, which started last year with the pilot scheme for independent umpires and referees at Test matches.

'We are also delighted to be the first company to sponsor the umpires for an Ashes series. Our agreement with the TCCB covers the six Test matches and three one-day internationals.'