Twenty20 news February 4, 2010

Rajasthan leads bid to build global teams' alliance

Cricinfo staff

Rajasthan Royals are spearheading a drive to expand their brand by linking up with domestic teams from four other countries in a deal that would involving hosting joint tournaments. The Daily Telegraph said that Rajasthan are looking for partners in England, South Africa, Australia and West Indies which would give the Royals' name year-round exposure.

Sean Morris, the chief executive of Rajasthan, was excited at the prospect of the partnership, details of which are expected to be announced next week. "The opportunity to create a global brand is a unique one across all sports," Morris told the paper, "and will enable us to take advantage of the changing landscape in cricket, not least in the areas of marketing and talent development."

The plan includes a tournament this year featuring the five teams who become part of the alliance. For their respective domestic Twenty20 tournaments, all teams will reportedly affix the term 'Royals' to their names, besides turning out in similar Royals kits. The teams will also share revenues from any global sponsor of the Royals brand. With Twenty20 tournaments in the five countries spread out across the year, the global brand will rarely be out of the spotlight.

Rajasthan are captained by Shane Warne, whose former county Hampshire are one of the three English domestic teams linked with the deal, the others being Middlesex and Leicestershire. Rajasthan also have strong links with Cape Cobras, the South African franchise, with Graeme Smith playing for both teams and the two sides linked up last year for a match and Cricinfo understands this is another likely pairing.

Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove confirmed his team were in negotiations with Rajasthan. "You would expect us to be at the forefront of the marketplace and we are in quite advanced discussions," he told the Daily Echo. "There's likely to be an announcement soon but I don't want to go into too much detail at this stage except to say that Twenty20 is a fantastic opportunity."