The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced that NatWest will become the title sponsor of Twenty20 (T20) cricket at international, county and recreational level from 2014. It is a ground-breaking agreement for the governing body, as it is the first time a single format sponsorship of the game has been offered to one organisation.
The four-year deal includes England's eight international T20 fixtures against Sri Lanka (two matches - 2014 and 2016), India, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa. NatWest will continue its support of the women's game through its title sponsorship of England Women's home international T20 fixtures.
NatWest will also become the title sponsor of the county T20 competition with the majority of matches being played on Friday nights from 2014. This was the clear preference from the ever-increasing T20 fan base as reflected in ECB's market research.
In recreational cricket, NatWest retains the title sponsorship of the extremely successful annual NatWest CricketForce weekend (4th-6th April 2014 being the 13th event) - where thousands of cricket clubs hold volunteer events to boost investment in grounds and facilities prior to each season, as well as the NatWest Outstanding Services to Cricket Awards (OSCAs) which recognises and rewards the game's volunteers. NatWest will also become the lead sponsor of the ECB's National Club T20 competition which runs across 32 recreational league competition culminating with the Finals Day shown live on Sky Sports.
NatWest will become the title sponsor of the NatWest Women's T20 competition - which 33 County Boards compete in, across three regional groups (Midlands & North, South & West, and South). The sponsorship further encompasses junior competitions - played in 40 counties for the boys U13 & U15 competitions, and 32 counties for the girls U15 & U17 competitions.
NatWest has enjoyed a number of title sponsorship properties in its 32-year involvement with cricket - beginning with the domestic NatWest Trophy (1981-2000), before switching to international cricket with the NatWest ODI Series (2000-2013) which included the NatWest Challenge (2003-2005), and the NatWest T20 Series (2006-2013).
David Collier, ECB Chief Executive, said: "NatWest has been a wonderful and loyal supporter of cricket over the past three decades. They have been involved from the club game all the way up to England teams. ECB is delighted that this long-standing partnership will continue to flourish through NatWest's support of the T20 format which, as we have witnessed this season, continues to attract a new and growing audience for cricket throughout England and Wales."
Les Matheson, Managing Director of Retail Products & Marketing, NatWest said: "With well over thirty years supporting English cricket, we are the longest-standing sponsor of cricket anywhere in the world and are delighted to be extending this involvement through the most exciting and engaging format of the game.
"The Twenty20 game, at all levels, gives us the opportunity to engage our branch network and reach out to our customers all over the country. This new deal will also give us the opportunity to continue rewarding our customers.
"We are particularly pleased to be continuing our involvement with NatWest CricketForce, the UK's largest annual sports volunteering programme and which plays a fundamental role in supporting the communities we serve."