Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) has called time on its 20-year partnership with Cricket Australia, spelling the end of Victoria Bitter’s alignment with the Aussie Test and one-day cricket teams.
A spokesman for CUB told The Guardian that the decision was “purely commercial” so it could focus on more direct advertising during summer across its portfolio.
The deal between CUB and Cricket Australia was worth an estimated $65 million in the past five years, according to Fairfax.
A Cricket Australia spokesperson told the ABC its partnership with CUB was concluded in “good faith and mutually agreed by both parties”.
“We will be announcing an exciting new partnership in the coming days,” the spokesperson said.
CUB and Cricket Australia have faced increasing scrutiny over their partnership in recent years.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), which has lobbied against alcohol promotion in sports, told the ABC that Cricket Australia should take the opportunity to find a non-alcoholic sponsor.
“We’re delighted to hear that CUB have ended their VB sponsorship with cricket,” Sarah Dalton, president of the RACP’s pediatric division, said.
“So this is a great opportunity to look at alternatives, and there are lots of alternatives.”
“Ultimately, we really need to give the message to our children that sport is about being healthy.”
The RACP is not alone in its criticising the partnership, with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard also urging Cricket Australia to stop promoting alcohol as part of sponsorship deals.
“I would really like to see that alcohol is not on the t-shirts of our players,” he told the ABC.
“I think it’s an issue that someone who is a hero in all our eyes, Michael Clarke, wears an alcohol brand on his t-shirt.”