Emirates names its first cricket stadium
DUBAI, U.A.E., June 6th, 2010 – Emirates has stepped up to the crease to name its first dedicated cricket stadium, the third international sports stadium to be named by the airline around the world.
Durham County Cricket Club’s home in the UK has been named Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground. The renaming of the venue in Chester-le-Street – near Newcastle in the North East of England – follows a ground-breaking competition. Fans were invited to submit their suggestions based on the values of both the club and the airline.
The renaming of the ground is an integral part of a six year sponsorship agreement with the club, which also includes branding on the team’s Twenty20 shirts.
The partnership is an important addition to Emirates’ impressive cricket portfolio, which includes an official partnership with the ICC (International Cricket Council), as well as the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires.
As part of their ICC sponsorship, the award-winning international airline is gearing up for the all-important 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, which takes place in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. This World Cup is directly before the start of the 2011 Indian Premier League season where Emirates will enter its third consecutive season as shirt sponsor of the King’s XI Punjab.
A ceremony to reveal the new stadium name, involving a giant pitch banner, was held directly before the club’s home Twenty20 match against the Lancashire Lightning on Friday 4th June in front of a sell-out crowd of 8,000.
The competition winner was a 65-year old farmer, Robin Harker, from North Yorkshire, who won a trip-of-a-lifetime to Australia later this year to watch an Ashes Test. His return flights and match tickets are courtesy of Emirates.
Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground becomes the second sports stadium in the UK to be named by Emirates after Emirates Stadium, the home of Arsenal. The airline’s third stadium asset, 7he Sevens, is a multi-sports facility in Dubai.
Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice Chairman Emirates Airline & Group, who attended the unveiling, said: “The renaming of Durham’s County Ground to the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground will further cement our presence in the North East where we already fly daily from Newcastle to Dubai and beyond. The atmosphere at the game was something very special and I’m tremendously proud to attach the Emirates brand to a venue so important within the North East community.”
CEO of Durham County Cricket Club, David Harker, added: “The competition was really well received by our supporters and sports lovers from the North East and further afield. A great amount of thought went into many of the entries and there was some excellent reasoning behind the ideas we received. It was great to see the interest and passion that people have for both Durham County Cricket Club and the future of international cricket in our region.”
Durham County Cricket Club is the newest of all the First Class county teams and they are the current holders of the LV County Championship, the highest accolade for First Class County Cricket in the UK. Some of their stars include England international players Paul Collingwood and Steve Harmison, as well as Dale Benkenstein from South Africa and Michael Di Venuto from Australia.
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