- ECB in advanced talks with consumer goods company
- Governing body received criticism for earlier deal with KP Snacks
- The Hundred likely to launch next year even if fans cannot attend
The UK newspaper reports that the two parties are in ‘advanced talks’ over a UK£10 million (US$13 million) sponsorship deal for the national governing body’s new 100-ball franchise tournament, which was due to start this year but had to be delayed until 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Mail report added that the proposed deal would see the Hundred promote a number of Unilever’s brands, including Wall’s ice cream, Sure deodorant and Persil laundry detergent.
Last week, outgoing ECB chairman Colin Graves told the BBC’s Test Match Special that the Hundred is likely to go ahead next year even if fans are not permitted, meaning sponsorship revenue could take on added importance to make up for lost ticket sales.
However, the inclusion of Wall’s in a partnership with Unilever could prove controversial after the ECB was condemned last year for signing a sponsorship agreement with KP Snacks, with critics arguing that the governing body was marketing unhealthy food to children and families.
Despite the ECB potentially leaving itself open to more criticism, the Mail report noted that the organisation’s tie-up with Unilever would feature summer-themed products already associated with cricket.
Additional sponsorship revenue will be welcomed by the ECB, whose chief executive Tom Harrison has warned that the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic could cost the governing body UK£380 million (US$496 million) in a worst case scenario.
Harrison has also said that the ECB is “staring at a UK£100 million loss” for 2020 irrespective of how much cricket is played this summer.