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By Venu Palaparthi
The American Cricket Federation (ACF) received another shot in the arm as it reached an agreement with the equipment maker John Newbery Ltd. to become the primary sponsor of ACF's 40-over competition - the American Cricket Champions League (ACCL).
As part of the proposed five-year agreement, Newbery will become the primary sponsor of ACF’s 40-over competition, which will be rebranded as the Newbery American Cricket Champions League. Newbery will supply all ACCL teams with custom designed and manufactured kits at no cost to the teams, and will also produce and market ACF-licensed team apparel and merchandise. Newbery will also supply custom shirts for ACCL umpires.
ACF has attempted to differentiate itself from USACA by providing services to its member leagues that were over and above what they were used to receiving from USACA. The ACCL competition is one such step, which has succeeded in creating a season-long competition to determine the most competitive side in the ACF. A national competition of this type has not been consistently held in recent times, leading to ad hoc selection trials and methods. Numerous private tournaments have attempted to fill the void but many are invitational or entry fee based.
The Newbery sponsorship is also a validation of what we have known all along, if an organization can create a structured national level competition with the participation of 17 teams from all corners of the country, the resulting participant interest and fan following is of incredible value to a potential sponsor. Even before the announcement of the Newbery sponsorship, ACCL had already received support from Hammer Cricket, which had offered prizes at the player level.
“The Newbery name is reserved for only the highest quality products, which we think is fitting for America’s premier cricket competition, and we are proud to have the ACCL brand associated with Newbery,” ACF CEO Jamie Harrison said.
A spokesperson for Newbery said, “We’re passionate about supporting affiliate cricket across the globe so we’re thrilled that Newbery will be associated with this fantastic competition. This is a great opportunity for us to help grow the sport in the U.S.A.”
It will be interesting to see if this sponsorship paves the way for other mainstream sponsors to come on board in the future.