Cricket Australia has some trying times ahead.
Telecommunications giant Vodafone announced today it will not be renewing major sponsorship deals with Cricket Australia and V8 racing team Triple Eight Racing once their current agreements expire.
The move is money motivated as Vodafone is looking to save money and improve services. The V8 motorsport’s team deal ends at the end of 2012 while Cricket Australia’s contract is set to expire at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season.
Vodafone will use the money saved from axing the deals to help with the release of their new mobile network and to improve customer service.
The news comes as a potential players strike in the Aussie cricket world ebbs slightly closer to reality. The player’s association, the Australian Cricketers' Association, and Cricket Australia have until June 30th to reach a new pay agreement, but as of yet nothing appears imminent.
The ACA is looking for a $30 million deal but will accept a rollover of the current deal on a short-term basis if no agreement is met. It is possible that Cricket Australia could ignore the ACA’s demands with a result being a player strike that would potentially jeopardise September’s Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka as well as the ODI tour of England in June and July.
In the U.S earlier this year, the NBA experienced a similar situation when the owners and the player’s association could not agree on a new pay deal. The league, acting on behalf of the owners, locked out the players until an agreement was met, but not until two months of the season was already missed.