Administration-hit 3aaa made seven-figure investment in sports sponsorship

Derbyshire County Cricket Club has said it is monitoring the situation as its main sponsor, apprenticeships provider 3aaa, entered administration after investing a reported sum of around £1.6m (€1.8m/$2.1m) in mostly government-funded income on sponsorship of professional sports teams.

Derby-based 3aaa was placed into administration on Thursday. The Derbyshire Live website said the company, one of the biggest apprenticeship training providers in England, immediately handed out redundancy notices and closed courses after informing its up to 500 staff and around 4,500 learners.

The government’s Department for Education, which has withdrawn funding to the company, has entered the findings of investigations into the company to Derbyshire police via Action Fraud. In March 2014, 3aaa agreed a three-year stadium naming rights and shirt sponsorship partnership with Derbyshire County Cricket Club, which was subsequently extended a year later until the end of 2020.

Education news website FE Week reported that from January 2015 to May 2018, 3aaa spent £1.6m on sponsorship of sports clubs, including £480,420 on Derbyshire alone. Championship football club Derby County is also said to have received £382,610 during this period, while Championship rivals Norwich City (£203,999), Rotherham United (£175,800) and Reading (£132,900) also gained six-figure sums. Premiership rugby union team Leicester Tigers recouped £146,160.

Derbyshire said in a statement: “Derbyshire County Cricket Club has been advised that principal partner, 3aaa Apprenticeships, has entered administration. The club will continue to monitor the situation.

“At this time, our thoughts are with the staff and apprentices who are impacted and we hope a positive outcome can be achieved.”