KNCB signs major sponsorship agreement with ABN AMRO
Dutch cricket found its long sought-after major sponsor on Thursday evening, when the KNCB signed a four-year sponsorship agreement with the ABN AMRO Bank which will enable the national side to move to a genuinely semi-professional structure.
Neither party was willing to reveal the exact value of the deal, but the indication is that it is extremely significant.
Based in the first instance on shirt sponsorship, it will enable the KNCB to expand its existing player contract system, and to move to a much more ambitious touring programme. ABN AMRO has an interest in seeing the Orange Lions playing matches in an area extending from the Malay Peninsula to the Arabian Peninsula, taking the Indian Sub-continent as well.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, attended by the national squad on the eve of their departure for the Calypso Cup Twenty20 tournament in the Caribbean, where the new-look kit will be sported for the first time, ABN AMRO’s Sponsorship and Events Manager, Ernst Boekhorst, said there was ‘a perfect match’ between his company’s ambitions and those of the KNCB.
‘Cricket is very popular in a number of countries where we are seeking to grow our activities,’ he said, ‘particularly in Asia and the Middle East, where the sport is widely watched on television.
‘This agreement will help increase ABN AMRO’s international visibility, and we look forward to supporting the Dutch cricket team’s ambitious plans in the lead-up to the next ICC World Cup in 2015.’
In addition to providing brand exposure for ABN AMRO in the Far and Middle East, the agreement creates a framework for the Dutch side to play in specific areas where the bank is seeking to make a greater impact, giving the players opportunities to take part in high-level fixtures around the world.
At the same time, it will assist with the development of quality training and playing facilities in the Netherlands.
Nor does ABN AMRO underestimate the importance of sustaining the grassroots development of the game, and Boekhorst underlined this on Thursday evening by handing over a cheque for €15,000 to help with the expansion of Dutch youth cricket.
Introducing the new agreement, KNCB chairman Marc Asselbergs paid tribute to the work of national team manager Ed van Nierop in pursuing and negotiating the deal.
‘It is an agreement which will help keep Dutch cricket near the top of the world game,’ he said, ‘and I am convinced that both ABN AMRO and the Bond will benefit greatly from the partnership.’
ABN AMRO has been a significant sponsor of cricket in the past, having supported such events as the 1993-94 ICC Trophy in Kenya, a triangular tournament in Nairobi the following year, and the Videocon Cup in Amstelveen in 2004.
Boekhorst said on Thursday that as the bank moved into a new period of development, looking towards expanded international markets, the time was right for an agreement with a sporting body which was also looking to consolidate and expand its international reputation.
‘We are greatly impressed by what the Dutch national team has achieved,’ he said, ‘and we are delighted to contribute to what we hope will prove to be its be its best-ever performance in a Cricket World Cup.’
KNCB chief executive Richard Cox said after the signing ceremony that the Bond’s existing sponsor for the Clydesdale Bank 40 League, non-alcoholic beer manufacturer 3 Horses, was fully aware of the new agreement, and he was confident that the two contracts would be able to coexist.