Maiden Year Over
Maiden Year Over
17 October 2014
The end of the season is a good time to review Royal London’s first year of sponsoring one-day cricket.
You would be forgiven for asking “why cricket?”, but the answer is simple. Cricket is a very British sport and Royal London is a very British company. What’s more, both are happy to embrace change, so this season was a fruitful one, for the sport and for the sponsor. We were pleased to be part of re-introducing the 50-over format to county cricket, bringing it into line with the international game. Our sponsorship has also allowed us to support cricket in many formats – from international and county through to the grassroots, including several different age groups. We put our name to junior county cups, played in 40 counties, giving boys and girls the chance to compete from under 13s through to under 17s. We will soon be announcing details of our new grassroots programme, aimed at getting even more children involved in cricket up and down the country over the next three years.
The changes didn’t stop there. Back in May, the launch event of our sponsorship saw a new world record for the most “keepy-uppys” in 60 seconds. The Derbyshire captain, Wayne Madsden, managed a remarkable 282, beating some stiff competition from Stuart Broad and Charlotte Edwards. We introduced a big ball to cricket in the form of the Royal London zorbing challenge; and our mascot Gilbert, the colourful Pelican, has done a great job of getting the crowd engaged in “doing the pelican”. A branded pop-up cricket net toured the grounds, giving young and old alike the chance to try their hand. Who knows, we may have inspired a future England captain.
We also joined forces with the England and Wales Cricket Board and the counties in a “Kids go Free” initiative, to encourage children to get involved in their local clubs. This year “Kids go free” offered free entry to 28 games, for 350 children, most of them watching cricket for the first time. In addition we worked with a leading sports charity, the Lord’s Taverners, to give 20 children from its inner city development programme “Wicketz”, the chance to watch their first cricket match, with tickets to the Royal London One-Day Cup final. We plan to build on this initiative next season.
All in all, we feel we have done a lot in our first year, which has increased the awareness of Royal London among our core target audiences. We look forward to building on our sponsorship, contributing to this very British sport and helping to inspire the next generation of cricketers.