Sri Lankan news May 27, 2009

Sri Lankan team sign record sponsorship deal

The Sri Lankan team have signed a whopping US$4.85 million sponsorship deal with the country's mobile service provider Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel for the next four years. The sponsorship will take effect from the ICC World Twenty20 in England next month, where the team will be led by their new captain Kumar Sangakkara.

The deal is the biggest for the national team since it was first sponsored by Singer Sri Lanka in the mid-90s. The previous highest was the US$3.5 million deal for three years by tea company Dilmah.

"This is an unprecedented offer from Mobitel at a time when pessimistic giants are cutting losses. This new sponsorship deserves thanks for courage and foresight. The move by Mobitel needs to be appreciated," said Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee chairman Somachandra de Silva.

The four-year sponsorship will include the 2011 World Cup, two World Twenty20s, two Asia Cups and several other international tours.

Sports minister Gamini Lokuge was delighted that the team was able to attract "a high price". "When we first advertised no sponsor showed any interest. But a second call brought us a high price because of the team's success."