Compare the Market is to become the new main sponsor of The Hundred, English cricket chiefs have announced.
City A.M. revealed two weeks ago that the England and Wales Cricket Board was finalising terms on a multi-year deal with a principal partner making its first entry into the sport.
That partner has now been confirmed as Compare the Market, the price comparison website known for its meerkat-themed advertising campaigns.
The British company replaces online car marketplace Cazoo, which was The Hundred’s main sponsor for its first two seasons but decided against continuing.
“As we approach the start of this year’s competition, we are delighted to be able to announce Compare the Market as principal partner of The Hundred,” said the competition’s managing director Sanjay Patel.
“Compare the Market are one of the most recognisable UK brands. They will add even more fun and entertainment to go alongside the world-class cricket on show, and that is what The Hundred is all about.
“This partnership will spread the reach of cricket to more families across England and Wales, and we are looking forward to what Compare the Market has in store for the third edition of the competition in August.”
Spectators of The Hundred can expect to see the brand’s meerkat characters at matches where they will be “adding to the experience”, the ECB said.
The multi-year sponsorship is a boost to the future of The Hundred, which has divided opinion among fans and administrators but succeeded in attracting new audiences through its men’s and women’s competitions.
It is likely to dampen speculation about its future, which had been called into question by some leading figures in county cricket. Leading sports agency CSM led the sponsor search for the ECB.
The ECB has long-term broadcast contracts with Sky Sports to show The Hundred until 2028, but the BBC’s TV deal is currently due to expire next year.
“The Hundred has become a much-loved fixture on the sporting calendar, offering up an exciting and energetic new take on cricket,” said Compare the Market chief executive Mark Bailie.
“The Hundred plays a critical role in cricket’s drive to become the most inclusive sport in the country, and that’s something we are proud to support.
“Bringing together our entertaining brand with one of the most entertaining sports is an exciting partnership and we’re looking forward to revealing the plans we have in place to support this year’s competition and beyond.’’