ECB signs up NatWest, Specsavers as Test partners

The England and Wales Cricket Board has today (Friday) announced banking group NatWest as the title partner of the upcoming Pakistan Test series, while opticians chain Specsavers has been named as the body’s official Test partner in a deal that begins with the summer series against India.

The two-match Pakistan series will be named the NatWest Test Series #NoBoundaries as part of the ‘Cricket Has No Boundaries’ campaign. NatWest is an existing principal partner of the ECB in a deal that runs until 2021.

England’s first Test against Pakistan will take place at Lord’s in London from May 24-28, with the second Test to be held at Headingley in Leeds from June 1-5.

Specsavers’ deal will begin with the series against India, which is scheduled for August and September. The partnership will run until the end of 2019, incorporating the Ashes series against Australia. Specsavers also title sponsors the ECB’s County Championship competition.

Rob Calder, the ECB’s commercial director, said: “These new deals show two key partners developing even deeper relationships with the game. It also means that, for the first time, we have specific partners at men’s international and men’s domestic level with Specsavers focusing on red-ball cricket, Royal London owning 50-over cricket, and Vitality driving T20 cricket.

“It is great news for our sport that the Pakistan Test series will celebrate cricket’s inclusive nature under the #NoBoundaries campaign – showing that cricket truly is a game for everyone no matter your background, culture or location.”

The ECB has been seeking a new Test partner since last summer when its sponsorship agreement with specialist bank and asset manager Investec came to an early end. 

In November 2011, the ECB and Investec agreed a 10-year deal worth £5m (€5.7m/$6.7m) on an annual basis. The partnership was set to run until 2021 and was the longest sponsorship agreement secured in the ECB’s history. The two parties confirmed in January 2017 that the deal would be ended early and at the time it was reported that Investec had elected to utilise a break clause in the contract following the ECB’s agreement with NatWest.