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Vodafone pulls plug on Australian cricket

Daniel Brettig

June 7, 2012

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Ricky Ponting watches proceedings, Australia v New Zealand, second Test, Hobart, 3rd day, December 11 2011
Vodafone will not be on Australian shirts come the 2013-14 Ashes © Getty Images
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Australian cricket will be in search of a new Test match sponsor ahead of the 2013-14 Ashes series, after Vodafone announced it would end a union that has lasted 11 years and furnished the game with more than Aus$10 million in financial support. The telecommunications company will end its relationship with Cricket Australia following the end of next summer's series against South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Vodafone first chimed in as Australia's major Test-match backer when Ansett Airlines collapsed just weeks ahead of the 2001-02 home summer, and has promoted the brands Orange, Three and Vodafone in turn over more than a decade. However the company's recent series of network and customer service problems in Australia has prompted a change in focus; the network is also withdrawing its presence in Australia's V8 motor racing competition.

"Like all sports' sponsorships, there comes a time when the sponsor achieves its partnership objectives and moves on with new strategic priorities," CA's commercial general manager, Mike McKenna, said. "We understand that Test cricket has helped Orange, Three and Vodafone become Australian household names, and we look forward to continuing to work with Vodafone next summer in what will be the final season of our successful relationship.

"Our partner, via these brands, has helped us promote Test cricket and the sport is better for their long-term support."

While McKenna stressed CA's view that "the Australian team playing Test cricket at home is possibly the most valuable sports' sponsorship asset in Australia", the search for a new major sponsor may yet prove vexing.

CA is already heavily reliant on alcohol and fast food sponsorship to maintain the corporate slice of its revenue, and Twenty20 Big Bash League teams all complained last year of the difficulties in finding new sponsors in an increasingly competitive and financially frugal marketplace.

However the lure of a home Ashes series in 2013-14 to begin the new partnership is CA's ace in their pursuit of a new name to emblazon on the Test shirts of its players and sight screens of the country's grounds.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by Kernas on (June 11, 2012, 0:02 GMT)

Hopefully CA can find a sponsor that provides coverage all over Australia.

Posted by Meety on (June 8, 2012, 13:13 GMT)

@TheUnit - Vodafone bought out Three. Tough times to try & land another sponsor, the corporate dollar is competitively chased in Oz. Now all we need is for Ford to drop out too & CA get a decent car manufacturer like Holden! LOL!

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

Title should have read "vodafone drops out of Australian cricket" I think Vishwanath.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

Rubber meets the road. BCCI has been hitting this point for a long time. For test cricket to survive, you need innovative ideas like IPL. If you want DRS, also think of funding behind it. Noble ideas are great feed for mind, money is the real food.

Posted by Gunnerseleven on (June 8, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

@sriraj317:You stole my words buddy and you are spot on..thank god before the start of summer vodafone has ended it's deal..vodafone didn't bring any luck to the team at all..I againt want to see "Three" sponsoring Australia again...

Posted by Bruisers on (June 8, 2012, 8:38 GMT)

Sahara should be sponsoring Australia instead of Bangladesh.

Posted by tanstell87 on (June 8, 2012, 8:07 GMT)

Vodafone doesn't want to sponsor average team like Australia.

Posted by popcorn on (June 8, 2012, 4:44 GMT)

Vodafone deserves a lot of credit for supporting Australian Cricket.Thanks.

Posted by rienzied on (June 8, 2012, 1:21 GMT)

I cannot wait for the 13-14 ashes and the sponser will have a great time being on the winning side..

Posted by srriaj317 on (June 7, 2012, 22:20 GMT)

Finally, we've got rid of the sponsor who brought poor luck in results to both England and Australia were Vodafone's red flame was flashed across their jerseys!!! May the new sponsor bring in better luck!

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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