ECB seeks new sponsor after Vodafone pulls out

English cricket yesterday launched a desperate search for a new sponsor after Vodafone ended its 12-year link with the game. The company's decision not to renew its agreement when the present deal ends in early 2010 will cost the England and Wales Cricket Board £4m a year unless it can find a replacement.

Although the mobile phone company's withdrawal was widely predicted, it could not have come at a worse time with corporate sponsorship across all sports being affected by the credit crunch. At the very least the ECB may be forced to negotiate a shorter-term deal and may struggle to find a high profile name, especially if England lose the Ashes next summer. They will, however, balk at reducing the £4m-a-year asking price.

Vodafone has become almost synonymous with the England team since the turn of the century. Wherever an England cricketer has turned up, a cap adorned with the red Vodafone logo has not been far behind. The shirts they play in have sported the firm's name and it became a standing joke that whenever a player was interviewed somebody would be in attendance to ensure he was wearing the appropriate cap.

John Perera, the ECB's commercial director, said yesterday: "We understand these are challenging times and it could take three to six months to reach agreement with a new partner. This is perhaps the flagship of all our sponsorship deals and when you consider that the England team is playing for 100 days a year and on duty for about 250 that is an awful lot of product, if you like."

Brand identity will be a key criterion as well as money. The ECB will start with a clean sheet but something like a consumer electrical goods company may be high on its wish list.

It will be earnestly hoping that the other two of its main sponsors, Npower and NatWest, who sponsor, respectively the home Test and one-day series, will renew their deals when they run out next year. If it has to search for new sponsors on three fronts it will be in serious trouble.

The ECB is insulated to a large degree by the TV rights deals it negotiated this summer with Sky worth £300m over four years. Broadcast contracts make up 80 per cent of the board's income. They might have signed at a good time. Speculation is growing in India that ESS – a partnership between ESPN and Star Sports – which paid $900m (£587m) for rights to the Twenty20 Champions League are unhappy about the vast outlay both because of the state of the advertising market and the fact that the competition has been postponed.

£4m

Vodafone's annual sponsorship of England.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence