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Vodafone declares on 12-year cricket innings

James Middleton

December 16, 2008

2 Min Read
Vodafone declares on 12-year cricket innings

UK-based operator Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile carrier in terms of revenue, announced Tuesday that it is to end the high profile deal that has seen it act as sponsor of the England cricket team for the past 12 years. The current four-year deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) expires at the end of the England team’s Winter Tour of South Africa in January 2010.

Former Vodafone CEO Chris Gent, who masterminded the growth that made Vodafone the biggest international operator in the world, also spearheaded the firm’s association with English cricket. A keen cricket fan from childhood, Gent initiated a relationship that often saw the Vodafone brand attached to defeat rather than victory.

The highpoint of Vodafone’s sponsorship was the 2005 Ashes test series against Australia, which saw England regain the Ashes for the first time in 18 years. Since then the team has had less success. Sponsorship is an expensive business – estimates for F1 motor racing sponsorship are as high as $250m over five years – and Vodafone has long been a high profile player in the sports arenas of the world.

But in straitened times such commitments are often the first to be reassessed. Ian Shepherd, Consumer Director, Vodafone UK, commented: “We’ve enjoyed a successful relationship with the ECB and the England Team over the last 12 years and the sponsorship has provided us with a platform to build the Vodafone brand and add value to our customers.   We are delighted to have been part of this dynamic and evolving sport.  The England Team have been excellent brand ambassadors and we thank them for their ongoing support.

“As part of an ongoing strategic review of our sponsorship portfolio, we have decided not to renew this sponsorship agreement.  We remain fully committed to the successful conclusion of the sponsorship at the end of the Winter Tour of South Africa and we look forward to an exciting summer ahead with the Ashes.  We are also working with the ECB to develop a legacy programme at grass roots level which builds on the long term investment we have made in the success of cricket across England and Wales.”

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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