County Cricket Sports Report
County cricket is curating something of a new identity and its challenge is a classic; staying true to its traditional core whilst broadening contemporary appeal.
The game has several formats. Whilst the four-day format keeps the purists happy, T20 and its party atmosphere has demonstrated its popularity with the Men’s Vitality Blast T20 competition dominating in overall reach, through social media, tv broadcast, attendance and YouTube highlights. One-day cricket strikes a balance between the two. Now enter The Hundred, a brand new format set to boost the sport’s audience from 2020. The return of county cricket to terrestrial television is likely to help this process.
Compared to other team sports and domestic sporting calendars, county cricket’s three formats all take place over an intensive six month period of competition, when, for example, football and rugby do not. Therefore it is not contending with notoriously popular leagues for audiences, but could also be an opportunity for brands to add summer activations alongside winter sports.
The combined effect makes it an attractive event for sponsors to activate in and around with guaranteed exposure to fans. The sport attracts big players like Kia, which has renewed its partnership with Surrey consistently since 2011 having seen a satisfactory return of investment. This isn’t to say that deals are only exclusive to big money, partnership opportunities within county cricket come in all shapes and sizes.
Clubs are not only a nationwide network for gaining exposure but also a great way to positively impact and build brand equity among sporting communities at a local level. Financial and professional services, travel and automotive and alcohol brands are prominent in this area, but some industries are conspicuous in their absence. There was no representation of watch brands on the front of men’s county or Kia Super League team shirts, or as the event ground title sponsor of the 18 clubs seen in the men’s game. This is unusual for a sport that has a similar audience demographic with cycling, golf and tennis where watch brands are dominant. When there are six elite county competitions that brands can get involved in, there are major opportunities for both brand and rights holder to benefit from front-of-shirt exposure and access a loyal following of fans across a wide cross-section of society.
- Cricket is working towards becoming more commercial and is likely to attract a larger audience from 2020.
- Cricket has a range of sponsorship options available at a variety of price points to reach UK Audiences.
- Suitable sponsorship opportunity if your brand aims to increase its exposure and establish an identity in the UK market through traditional sport.
- Be part of increased commerciality with the introduction of ‘The Hundred’ and BBC coverage from 2020
- Compared to other team sports and domestic sporting calendars, county cricket’s three formats of competition take place over an intensive six month period.
- 2019 competition structure
- 2019 events calendar
- Competitions compared: YouTube, Attendance, Social Media, Broadcast
- Current sponsors v. team performance
- Spotlight: Vitality Blast Finals Day 2018
- Sponsorship landscape
- Sponsorship deals
For an example of a full Sports Report, see our Skateboarding version.