Sponsored cricket grounds

What are names for? We give things names so that we know what the bloody hell they are. Old Trafford Cricket Ground is going to be known as ‘Emirates Old Trafford’ and as long as we all shorten that to ‘Old Trafford’, there shouldn’t be any problems.

Sponsors make a right balls of cricket ground names. Take The Oval, for example. We think it’s the Kia Oval at the minute, although it’s been The Brit Insurance Oval and The Foster’s Oval in recent years as well. This sponsorship doesn’t work well for two reasons. Firstly, it seems to change every year, so no-one can remember what it’s called anyway. Secondly, there are plenty of grounds in the world called The Something Oval. What if Brit Insurance decide to sponsor the Kensington Oval in Barbados? We’d have people talking about a Test between England and the West Indies that took place at the Brit Insurance Oval and you’d have to check the year to know where it had taken place.

Emirates is a particularly bad sponsor because the name is already associated with Durham’s ground. We call it ‘Durham’s ground’ because it is the most confusingly named cricket arena in the world. Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground is a hideously clumsy name, but at least there’s a degree of clarity about it in isolation. However, this is somewhat undermined by the fact that different people refer to the ground by different names. Someone might just as easily call it ‘Durham’, ‘The Riverside’ or ‘Chester-Le-Street’. We’re still not entirely certain that these four names all refer to the same place.

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44 Appeals

  1. Funnily enough, I was having this discussion with Bert Jr the other day as we drove past the Reebok Stadium. Bert asked what a Reebok was. Part way through explaining the flora and fauna of the southern African veld, he told me I was boring him. So I told him it was a make of shoe that was popular once.

    The point being that the only association he makes with Reebok is the stadium. Hence the sponsorship in that case is pointless – he’s more chance of buying an antelope than a trainer. To work properly the sponsorship has to be a noticeable addition and retain its identity, like with Emirates Old Trafford. But that is clunky, too easy to drop, and reeks of exactly the sort of corporate lack of understanding of sport that these firms are desperate to avoid.

    In other words, if the name sticks it loses its association with the product. If the name doesn’t stick it gets dropped. If it jars, it puts people off the product. None of which seem to me to be the outcome a sponsor would actually want.

    • “he’s more chance of buying an antelope than a trainer”.

      I think this is bad news for you, Bert Sr.

      You might be cross if Bert Jr came home with a bleeding new pair of training shoes, but I suspect you’d be even crosser if he came home with a breeding pair of antelopes. And it would be a surprisingly easy mistake to make at his age, too (ordering antelopes rather than shoes), especially when ordering on-line.

  2. Durham’s ground is sponsored by Emirates? Since when? Genuinely, I had no idea. Which I am rather pleased about.

    What’s it called? Chester-LEmirates-Street?

    To be blunt, it’s all fucking stupid. It was fucking stupid when they started messing around with The Oval, and it’s fucking stupid now. It’s Old Trafford, it’s always been Old Trafford and it’ll always be Old Trafford.

    It’s bad enough when they build new football stadia and give them awful corporate names, but renaming existing cricket grounds is just fucking retarded.

    • I thought the Emirates was Arsenal’s ground. It’s Chester-le-Street to me, even though I’m pretty sure Chester-le-Street already has a club. I might even have been there once.

  3. There’s a Reebok stadium? That’s fantastic news. I’m off to the shops for a new pair of Reebok Pumps. That inflatable tongue helps support my feet in a way that no other shoe can.

  4. Of course, it could be worse. You could have some arsehole like this trying to totally destroy your club (or as he puts it, his business).

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/21604568

  5. I just hope they never do it with Edgbaston. That really would be the final straw. It’s bad enough when people call it ‘Birmingham’. It’s not Birmingham, it’s Edgbaston, which is in Birmingham. But the day they call it the Radio WM Stadium or the Brew XI Arena will be the day it all comes crashing down.
    If Asif Din were dead, he’d be turning in his grave.

  6. I don’t know what all the whining is about. I cannot wait for the day when companies that sponsor players demand they’d have to prefix their own names with their sponsors’. Makes for excellent conversation. Can you imagine Danny Morrison in the commentary seat?

    “Adidas Anderson delivers an absolute peach and Sahara Sehwag had no choice but to edge. Taken beautifully at third slip by Mitsubishi Morgan”.

  7. But where will it all end, eh?

    (This message was brought to you in association with Chips, the food you can eat occasionally and not get enormously fat, and Pies, they’re great with chips, and might not contain horse.)

  8. Ian Sainsbury
    Marcus Tescothick
    Ian BlackwellBerry
    Graham Hooch
    Jeremy SelloSnape
    Ian Austin Allegro

  9. I didn’t know about the Riverside either. I’ll look forward to wondering this season what the score is up at the EDICG.

    The game may well need money badly and opportunities for increased revenue from many / any sources should be pursued. But cricket (like football), it seems to me, has no clue about proper marketing.

    The County clubs have a wealth of heritage and history around which identities could and should be built to cement existing supporter / member relationships while attracting new fans to the game.

    What has the Emirates and all the connotations with the UAE got anything to do with Lancashire cricket or its’ citadel at Old Trafford?

    While Warburtons may make fine bread, they may not have sufficient budget for any association with their home County. The bread makers may not even be the right fit as sponsors go. But this news about Old Trafford leaves me irritated in the extreme.

    We may no longer be in the era of the Tyldesleys but come on you marketing people, start developing commercial strategies built around what you stand for not based on which corporation’s got the biggest cheques book and are wanting to splash their logos and name all over your bricks and mortar and no doubt every communication us simple cricket fans will want to see or be forced to watch.

  10. PS Good stuff, Sam. V funny 🙂

  11. In the commentary box:

    Nick Nak Knight
    David Gower Holiday Village
    Ian Strong Botham

  12. How do I ensure that the BCCI don’t get wind of this? “The Hero Honda Eden Gardens” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

  13. While we’re at it, what the frig is going on with Headingley Carnegie?

  14. North by West

    March 1, 2013 at 9:57 am

    The Kensington Oval issue already exists – there are two Etihad Stadiums.

    Personally I’m looking forward to Qatar Airways plastering their name over grounds that are not in Qatar.

  15. Would ‘Gaddafi Old Trafford’ be better or worse?

  16. The Ford Old Trafford

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