The 10th edition of Big Bash League, Australia’s T20 tournament, is set to be a unique one in many ways. The Power Surge, X-Factor and Bash Boost are new rule changes that have been introduced to spice things up in the tournament.
But the innovations Down Under did not stop there. The umpires are carrying the branding of a popular deodorant brand undeneath their armpits which the world will get to see every time they signal a six or a wicket or a bye.
“Keep an eye on the umpires who, in a world first, will have sponsor branding in the armpits of their kit after a new deal with Rexona,” reported cricket.com.au.
While the umpires have been part of branding exercises in the leagues around the world, this is as unique as it comes. In the Indian Premier League, the umpires carry logo of partners PayTM, for instance. Recently, in the Pakistan Super League playoffs, umpires walked out to the venue after sanitising their hands with the official brand of hand-sanitiser that was placed beyond the boundary line.
But, armpit advertising is cricket marketing going where it has never gone before. Quite literally.
“We are constantly on the lookout for brands that want to innovate and do things differently,’’ Nick Thodey, CA’s head of commercial development, was quoted as saying by The Australian ahead of the tournament that began on Friday.
“We don’t believe this has been done anywhere in the world, and there has been a strong collaborative effort with the broadcasters as well. There will be a Rexona logo just under the underarm, and there will be an integration with the broadcast as well that the cameras will focus on (the logo) during the play,” Thodey had added.
“Rexona, whose parent company is Unilever, says it has begun the process of trademarking ‘pit-vertising’ as it seeks to find fresh space in a format of the game already awash with branding,” according to a report in The Guardian.
The 10th season of the eight-franchise Twenty20 tournament was initially due to begin on December 3, but it started seven days later on Friday with Hobart Hurricanes taking on Sydney Sixers.
While BBL teams can sign up to six internationals in their squad for the season, for the first in the tournament teams can have three of them in the playing XI, increasing the number by one from previous editions.
“Some familiar faces like Afghan superstars Rashid Khan (Adelaide Strikers) and his compatriots Mohammed Nabi (Melbourne Renegades), Zahir Khan (Melbourne Stars) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Brisbane Heat) have all returned,” cricket.com.au reported.
Recently however a couple of English stars, Tom Banton and Tom Curran, pulled out citing bubble fatigue. World No 1 T20I batsman Dawid Malan will play for Hobart Hurricanes.
The sixth season of Women’s Big Bash League recently came to an end in Sydney with Rachael Haynes-led Sydney Thunder emerging as champions.