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News

ECB faces search for sponsors after trio of backers announce end of partnership

Cazoo and LV= Insurance join Royal London in withdrawing from English cricket

Surrey won the County Championship in 2022, under LV= Insurance's sponsorship  •  Getty Images

Surrey won the County Championship in 2022, under LV= Insurance's sponsorship  •  Getty Images

The ECB is on the lookout for three new principal sponsors, after LV= Insurance and Cazoo both joined Royal London in choosing not to extend their partnerships with English cricket.
Cazoo, the title sponsor of the first two years of the Hundred, has confirmed it will not be involved in this summer's third staging, while LV=, which was the backer of men's and women's Test cricket as well as the County Championship, will be signing off at the end of a 2023 season which will feature twin Ashes series.
"We thank Cazoo for their great support over the first two years of the Hundred," an ECB spokesperson said. "We are really proud of the variety of partners who have helped establish the Hundred and throw cricket's doors open.
"We look forward to announcing more new partnerships as we get closer to the third year of the competition.
"We're very grateful to LV Insurance for their support for cricket in England and Wales. As well as partnering with England men's and women's Test cricket and the County Championship, they have done a huge amount for grassroots cricket including through the £1m Funds4Runs initiative.
"With an exciting summer of cricket ahead - including men's and women's Ashes - we look forward to working together during the final year of this partnership."
The ECB is understood to be confident about securing an alternative backer for the Hundred - especially in light of the new chairman Richard Thompson's valuation of the tournament at £1billion, following a recent £400million offer by a private equity firm.
However, the withdrawals come at an awkward time for the sport, with the imminent publication of a report by the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket which is expected to deliver a damning verdict on the handling of the recent racism crisis.
And while Cazoo's withdrawal comes amid a business realignment after the company's share price fell 93% in 2022, it is also understood that the presence of a rival online car-hire firm, Cinch, as the England team's principal shirt sponsor caused tensions - a situation reminiscent to long-time Test backer Investec's withdrawal from the sport in 2017, following the introduction of NatWest as the team's new shirt sponsors.
Royal London, meanwhile, pulled out of sponsoring domestic and international 50-over cricket in December, partially due to concerns about the format's marginalisation, with the Hundred's arrival reducing the county competition to second-tier status.
Heather Smith, managing director at LV General Insurance, said: "We are very much looking forward to a hugely successful summer of Ashes cricket but when the 2023 cricket season comes to an end so will our sponsorship.
"We always said we'd partner with the sport through to 2023 and we feel the time is right to naturally pass the opportunity of this fantastic sponsorship on to someone else."