With just three weeks until the World Cup begins, Cricket Ireland have announced that Tourism Ireland will be the team’s primary sponsor for the tournament in Australia/New Zealand.
The exact details of the deal have not been disclosed but it’s understood the contract is a short-term one and is only in place for the duration of the six week tournament.
The partnership is to be officially announced this afternoon at a press conference with Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Pascal Donohoue in Dublin.
Tourism Ireland is the marketing body who’s role is to grow overseas tourism revenue and visitor numbers to the island of Ireland. The All-Ireland entity is jointly funded by the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.
“We are very proud that Tourism Ireland will be supporting our efforts at the World Cup as our team sponsor,” Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland CEO, said.
“As a standard-bearer for Ireland on the world stage, it is entirely fitting that our World Cup squad will be sponsored by the organisation responsible for promoting our island abroad.
“Cricket is Ireland’s fastest-growing sport and has enormous prominence in a number of key overseas tourism, education and commercial markets for Ireland.”
Ireland will play a minimum of six games on their third consecutive World Cup appearance and their new shirt, manufactured by O’Neill’s, with the Tourism Ireland logos will be unveiled today.
However, International Cricket Council regulations don’t permit any sponsorship logos to be displayed on the front of the shirt. Teams can only sport a small logo of the sponsor on the leading arm (the one facing the bowler) of batsmen, and the name of the country is emblazoned on the front of the shirt.
“We are delighted to be associated with the Ireland cricket team and such a high profile tournament. Our sponsorship offers us a unique opportunity to highlight the island of Ireland to a huge global audience,” Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons commented.
“It’s wonderful for us to be involved in a sport that has such a wide appeal in many of our important tourism markets – and we look forward to connecting and communicating with a wide audience of cricket fans across the world.”
RSA Insurance ended their seven year partnership when their contract expired in December. Cricket Ireland have been in advanced discussions with a number of prospective sponsors over the past couple of months but it appears they couldn’t get across the line with any multi-year deal in time for the World Cup which starts on 14 February.
Speaking last May, Deutrom admitted to The42 that ‘it wouldn’t be easy’ to secure a sponsor in the current climate but he was ‘confident of negotiating the best possible deal for Irish cricket.’
It’s believed RSA invested a seven-figure sum into Irish cricket, both at international and grassroots level, during their long-standing sponsorship.
It had been hoped the significant global exposure which appearing at the World Cup brings would attract long-term benefactors while show-piece home fixtures against England and Australia this summer were seen as another weighty deal-maker.
Ireland’s unprecedented success over the last eight years has opened up a host of new commercial opportunities for Cricket Ireland. As many as nine partners – in addition to the primary sponsor – have been welcomed on board in the past eighteen months and last Septemer, Indian conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji bought the title rights of the Cricket Ireland Academy in a multi-million Euro deal.
Phil Simmons’ side fly to Australia for a training camp in Sydney on 30 January before they play two warm-up games against Scotland and Bangladesh.
Their first Pool B game takes place on 16 February in Nelson against West Indies.