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Waitrose named as new England sponsor

ESPNcricinfo staff

May 9, 2013

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England shirts and training kit will bear the Waitrose logo from the start of the 2014 season © Getty Images
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The ECB has announced that the supermarket chain Waitrose will become the England team's primary sponsor from 2014. The three-year deal, reported to be worth around £20m, will see Waitrose's logo replace that of Brit Insurance on all England kit.

Brit had confirmed its intention not to renew its sponsorship arrangement last year and there had been a possibility that a new commercial backer could take over before the contract expired. However, Brit will remain associated with the England team throughout back-to-back Ashes series in 2013 and 2014, with Waitrose featuring on shirts for the visit of Sri Lanka next year.

The move to a high street sponsor, rather than from the financial services industry, is aimed at increasing exposure among the general public. Waitrose, which is part of the John Lewis Partnership, has 291 branches throughout England, Wales and Scotland and the ECB chief executive, David Collier, said the deal would help English cricket to "engage further with a mass, family audience".

"We are delighted to welcome Waitrose as the new sole sponsor of our England teams," Collier, said. "The organisation 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.

The ECB's commercial director John Perera added: "This partnership is especially pleasing for us as we welcome another high profile, high-street brand into our ever-expanding commercial partner family. I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Brit who has been an excellent and valued partner of the ECB since 2010, and will remain as Team Sponsor until April 2014."

Waitrose have invested in sports marketing previously and currently sponsor the Premier League football club Reading. They will be the fourth commercial name to appear on England shirts, after Tetley Bitter, Vodafone and Brit. "We currently export our products to a quarter of the world's countries and associating Waitrose with this great national and international sport will enable us to build our brand globally," Mark Price, managing director of Waitrose, said.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by josh.davis on (May 9, 2013, 13:31 GMT)

I find it quite annoying when sports teams say their sponsor reflects their values. Unless a company is completely inappropriate a a sponsor then the team will generally just take the highest offer in a mutually beneficial business arrangement that shouldn't be seen as anything more. Nothing wrong with that atall, but it's not about trying to "engage further with a mass, family audience" it's about getting the best financial support in return for exposure of the brand.

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