Thursday, 2 December 2010

Welcome to the new Kia Oval...

Selling naming rights for grounds has to be among the more egregious examples of sports marketing twattery, with historic, memorable, meaningful names falling to King Cash left, right and centre.

Perhaps the worst example in sport was the replacement for the atmospheric, if rather basic Ayresome Park with the gloriously-titled BT Cellnet Stadium.

Current examples include the Reebok and the Emirates, although the wholesale naming of entire teams seems to have dies out with Airbus and Total Network Solutions (which inspired the superb 'they'll be dancing in the streets of total network solutions' gag) from Jeff Stelling.

Cricket, as is its wont, has been slower to adapt than football (barring Yorkshire Carnegie), and thus far has only Headingley Carnegie (Headingley, as any sane man prefers to call it) and The Brit Oval (The Oval, as far as we're concerned) really taking to selling their souls.

Bacon-and-egg ties were almost burned in disgust earlier this year when it was suggested that the Lord's naming rights could be prostituted around London agencies. What a wonder that would have been. Go Compare Lord's. We Buy Any Car Lord's. Iceland Lord's.

Of course, the powers that be may be greedy, but they're also stuffy. So we would have ended up with something like The Coutts' Lord's, Jaguar Lord's or Lord's Harrods.

Which is why the following press release took me by surprise. The Brit Oval sounded naff, but you could almost convince yourself it was a reference to Britain. Plus insurance should fall squarely within cricket's conservative demographics.

But a (whisper it) budget car manufacturer? From KOREA?!* I can almost smell the angina. Clearly that South London air has relaxed a few airways down in Kennington.

Could be worse, I suppose. The Fosters Oval, perhaps?

Kia Motors (UK) Ltd., has today announced that they are to be the lead sponsor of Surrey County Cricket Club and The Oval cricket ground.

Kia has signed a five year deal, and will have full and exclusive naming rights to the historic ground and become the primary shirt sponsor for Surrey County Cricket Club. The deal is worth over £3.5m to the Club over its duration.

Kia - part of the third biggest auto group in the world - takes over from Brit Insurance as the Club and ground’s primary partner. As well as the ground naming rights and the firm’s logo on Surrey shirts, Kia will also have a number of hospitality and promotional benefits throughout the season. The deal will come into force on January 1st 2011, from whence the ground will be known as the Kia Oval.

The deal is Kia’s first entrance into the cricket market; the company currently has worldwide commercial partnerships with the FIFA World Cup and Australian Tennis Open. Further to this, it employs current world number one Rafael Nadal as a brand ambassador and is also the Official Automotive Partner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the United States, sponsoring thirteen individual teams.

Speaking about the deal Paul Sheldon, Chief Executive of Surrey County Cricket Club, said: “To sign a deal with a leading International brand such as Kia is a fantastic boost to the Club.

“It is also hugely beneficial to us that we have been able to agree a five year deal as this allows us to plan for the future – both financially and on the field – with certainty. I have great confidence that our partnership has a long and strong future ahead of it.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Brit Insurance, which had been our lead sponsor since 2004. Throughout this time they have been a great support and I am delighted they are still a major supporter of our sport.”

Kia Motors (UK) Ltd., Managing Director Michael Cole said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for us to put our brand right at the heart of England’s favourite Summer sport and in front of an enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable audience

"We are delighted to be linked with such an iconic location as The Oval - it is rightly famous around the world - and as our UK headquarters are in Weybridge it is a privilege to be so closely linked with Surrey County Cricket Club.”

*Needless to say I have nothing against Korean car manufacturers, or even Kia. Their cars are really good, as it goes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Write something crickety: