ECB strikes Waitrose deal

The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has agreed a three-year deal with Waitrose for the supermarket chain to become the new sponsor of the England team from next year.

The Waitrose logo will feature on all England teams playing and training wear from the Test series against Sri Lanka in May 2014. The company replaces Brit Insurance in the role after the latter’s October announcement that it would not renew its deal due to a change in corporate strategy.

Brit has been involved in cricket since 2004 with Surrey County Cricket Club, and has been the England team sponsor since 2010 – a period of great success for English cricket. Brit’s current deal, worth a reported £20 million (€23.7 million/$31 million), is due to end in April 2014.

ECB chief executive David Collier said: “(Waitrose) begins their relationship with the sport with one of our marquee partnerships, and as a brand with a rich history synonymous with quality, they are a perfect fit for the ECB and our values. They join at an incredibly exciting time for the sport in England and Wales – with a packed international schedule including Test series against the other three teams who occupy the top four spots in the ICC Test Rankings. The partnership will allow us to engage further with a mass, family audience which will inevitably help us achieve our aim of inspiring the nation to play, attend and follow more cricket.”

As part of the agreement, Waitrose will benefit from a comprehensive range of rights and assets, which will include advertising in international cricket grounds, team image rights, ticketing, hospitality and access to England players for commercial and marketing purposes. The agreement also includes a community and recreational project for the sport, details of which will be revealed at a later date.

Rupert Thomas, marketing director of Waitrose, added: “Millions of people play and watch cricket in the UK and at the heart of the game is the cricket tea which of course Waitrose is perfectly placed to provide. We look forward to developing this exciting relationship and bringing benefits to our customers, the partners who work at Waitrose and the wider community.”

In other news, Waitrose has signed a two-year extension to its shirt sponsorship deal with English Premier League football club Reading. Waitrose has sponsored Reading since 2008 and has now committed to the club until the end of the 2014-15 season. Reading will play its football in the second-tier Championship next season with its relegation from the Premier League having already been confirmed.