Cricket: Cornhill calls time on Test sponsorship

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The Independent Online
CORNHILL INSURANCE yesterday announced it will not be renewing its sponsorship of English Test cricket. Cornhill will end its association in 2001 for business reasons, 23 years after it first sponsored Tests.

The England and Wales Cricket Board, however, insisted the decision created opportunities. "We are naturally very sorry that Cornhill has decided to leave us after next season after a lengthy and friendly association but this does represent a tremendous opportunity for another organisation to reap the same rewards as Cornhill," Terry Blake, the ECB marketing director, said.

Cornhill said it wanted to concentrate on diversification. "Our decision not to renew the sponsorship of English Test cricket beyond 2000 was taken solely on the grounds of our changing needs," Ray Treen, the chief executive, said. "We are increasingly using distinctive brand names to address different segments of the insurance market and, as a consequence, a corporate brand sponsorship becomes less appropriate.

"Our sponsorship of Test cricket over the past 22 years has been a great success story for us and has been the main reason why Cornhill Insurance is one of the best known insurance brand names in the UK."

The ECB believe the move could work to English cricket's advantage. "This is, in many ways, a turning point for the game with the appointment of a new coach and captain, new players being blooded and a new television broadcaster in Channel 4," Blake added.