Lancashire Cricket Agrees To Stadium Naming Rights Deal With Emirates
Lancashire has announced its ground will be known as Emirates Old Trafford for the next 10 years after "striking a major sponsorship deal," according to Andy Hampson of the London INDEPENDENT. The arrangement, reported to be worth up to £10M ($15.2M) "and the biggest in county cricket," will help the club fund its ongoing substantial redevelopment of the venue. Emirates' name will also appear on the front of the team's Twenty20 kits and the deal "includes a number of other marketing rights." Lancashire Chair Michael Cairns said, "The financial benefits of this deal are a core component of our long-term strategy for commercial sustainability" (INDEPENDENT, 2/28). In London, Andrew Bounds wrote it is a "further coup" for cricket after a period in the early 2000s when some counties and even the England team "struggled to find shirt sponsors." Emirates already sponsors the Durham Dynamos, including the Emirates Durham Int'l Cricket Ground, "one of a new crop of rivals that has forced Old Trafford" to spend £47M ($71.3M) on a revamp to ensure it can continue to host Test cricket, including this year’s Ashes against Australia (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/28).
MAKING PRESENCE FELT: Also in London, Andy Wilson wrote the deal "means that the Emirates name will be attached to two of this summer's five Ashes Test grounds." The third Test will be at Emirates Old Trafford, the fourth at the Emirates Durham Int'l Cricket Ground, and the fifth at the Kia Oval. Traditionalists "will be relieved" that the first two Tests are being staged at Trent Bridge -- Nottinghamshire "having insisted only this week" that it has no intention of selling naming rights to its ground, which its CEO Lisa Pursehouse compared to "selling our soul" -- and Lord's, where the MCC "seems highly unlikely ever to need to entertain the idea" (GUARDIAN, 2/27). Also in London, Neil Gardner reported a £32M ($48.6M) redevelopment is "due to be completed before the Ashes match in August," the first Test the ground has staged since '10 (LONDON TIMES, 2/28). Emirates Airline Exec Vice-Chair Maurice Flanagan said, "This association also highlights our continued investment in Manchester and the surrounding region, a hub which we see as vital to our operations in the U.K." (GULF NEWS, 2/28).