Cricket Australia will continue to be backed by a liquor brand even as its existing ties with the Carlton & United Breweries had come to an end. However, the new associates brand will not appear on the clothing of Australian cricket team.
Cricket Australia has confirmed on Monday that Lion will become a Gold Partner of Cricket Australia and the Australian Men’s team. The four-year association begins on July 1, 2017. Lion replaces Carlton & United Breweries as Cricket Australia’s Official Beer and Cider Partner for international cricket. Lion’s Gold sponsorship will see its beers stocked at all CA official functions, along with designated signage at stadiums. The partnership does not include any branding of player clothing.
The Chief Executive Officer of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland, welcomed Lion as a commercial partner. “Lion is one of Australia’s largest food and beverage companies, with quality products and a well-deserved reputation for corporate responsibility. XXXX Gold is the number one mid-strength beer in the country and will be a great moderation choice for fans attending our games. Lion and Cricket Australia both have a relationship with DrinkWise Australia and we look forward to working collaboratively to promote a positive drinking culture at games, where fans never miss a moment of the action.”
The Press Release from CA has said that under a restructure of CA’s commercial partnerships, announced at the start of the summer, naming rights sponsorship for the men’s International team, Test series and the short-form series (One-Day and T20 Internationals) are being negotiated separately. Discussions for all three are well advanced and will be announced as they are concluded.
The Chief Executive Officer of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland, welcomed Lion as a commercial partner.
“Lion is one of Australia’s largest food and beverage companies, with quality products and a well-deserved reputation for corporate responsibility. XXXX Gold is the number one mid-strength beer in the country and will be a great moderation choice for fans attending our games. Lion and Cricket Australia both have a relationship with DrinkWise Australia and we look forward to working collaboratively to promote a positive drinking culture at games, where fans never miss a moment of the action.”
Carlton’s decision to end the 20-year-old ties with CA, which has begun with the 1996-97 cricket season, was seen as an outcome of the rising voice against liquor brand endorsements in sports. The Carlton-CA deal has come under increasing pressure from doctors, lobby groups and politicians in recent years, who have questioned the impact of sponsorship deals between alcohol companies and sporting bodies, given levels of violence and harm in society linked to alcohol abuse, according to Australian media reports.
However, a spokesman for CUB has said the decision was “purely commercial”, and that its sports advertising in AFL and other football codes would continue. “CUB has made a commercial decision to focus on more direct advertising during summer across our broad portfolio,” he said. “CUB will maintain its strong and long-term sponsorship arrangements with Australian sport, including the AFL and NRL.”
It is believed, the decline in fortunes of the Australian cricket is linked to the performance of its national cricket team, which has now lost the World No. 1 and iconic status. Whereas the new kings of international cricket – Team India – have seen nearly 150 rise in their sponsorship values following the upsurge in their global rankings, Australia had to lose its most trusted partner.
Earlier this year the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) called for an end to alcohol sponsorship of sports teams and tournaments, and a ban on alcohol advertising during daytime live sport coverage, saying it was harming children.
A 2012 report from the Australian Medical Association also called for a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sport. That report stated there was “convincing evidence supporting the link between alcohol marketing and alcohol consumption by young people,” asserting “there is an urgent need to tackle the problem of alcohol marketing in Australia with robust policy and stronger regulatory oversight”.
Alcohol companies are estimated to spend in excess of $300 million (Rupees 1,500 crore) a year on sports sponsorship in Australia.
The deal between VB and Cricket Australia has caused a number of controversies in recent years. In 2013 Australian spin bowler Fawad Ahmed asked to have the VB logo removed from his shirt because, as a Muslim, he does not associate with alcohol on religious grounds. Ahmed was given leave to remove the VB logo from his uniform.
In 2015, after Australia won the Cricket World Cup, commentator Shane Warne created a controversy by repeatedly asking the Australian players if they were “thirsty” and how much they planned to drink during celebrations.
During the television interview Warne asked Steve Smith: “Are you going to have a bit of a drink tonight too, Smitty? Are you going to get thirsty as well? The boys are thirsty, they seem.” He then asked Shane Watson and Josh Hazlewood: “So what’s the plan, besides lots of drink and that. How long is that going to last. Just one night, two nights? We saw [coach] Darren Lehmann say it might last a week. Do you reckon it will go a bit longer than that?”