Texas billionaire Sanford threatens to stop sponsoring England cricket

December 17th, 2008 - 6:47 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec.17 (ANI): The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is reeling from a double setback after Texas billionaire Sir Allen Stanford threatened to end his backing of the sport and Vodafone announced they are ending sponsorship of the England team.
Stanfords foray into cricket has blown a 40 million dollar hole in his bank balance and he told his staff of his decision to drop his board of legends, which includes Sir Vivian Richards.
Half of the money went to West Indian players who beat their England counterparts in the PR disaster that was the Stanford Super Series in October and the rest went on trying to set up television and sponsorship deals that failed to happen.
His five-year deal with the ECB could now be under severe doubt. He is supposed to be bankrolling the annual four-team international Twenty20 tournament at Lords each summer, starting next year, as well as further Super Series in Antigua.
Vodafone had earlier confirmed they would end their four million pounds a year sponsorship of the England team after next winter’’s tour to South Africa, reports The Telegraph.
It is unfortunate timing for the England and Wales Cricket Board that as the country is gripped by recession, contracts with their two other title sponsors NatWest and Npower are also due to end.
“Sponsorship makes up about 13 or 14 per cent of our annual revenue and the substantial amount comes from the big three,” John Perera, the ECB’’s commercial director said.
“We will talk to all our major sponsors within the next couple of months, but we have to be realistic about the fact the market is not as buoyant as it was four years ago. We will look to ensure we try to get an extension from our existing partners but we may have to accept terms will not necessarily be the same, he added. (ANI)

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