The landmark deal is the single largest investment in women’s sport and diversity programs ever seen in Australia, with Commonwealth Bank investing more than $5 million per year over three years from 2017-18.
Cricket at all levels will benefit from the watershed commitment, which includes increasing awareness of and access to pathway opportunities for girls, growing grassroots cricket, and creating opportunities for Indigenous players to help them maintain a career in the game.
Australia’s Blind, Deaf and ID teams will no longer have to pay to represent their country, with cricket becoming the first non-Paralympian Australian sport to fully integrate and support its national teams for players with a disability.
And the investment will also send Australia’s Indigenous men’s and women’s squads on a tour of England in 2018 as part of plans to commemorate the famous all-Aboriginal team tour of England in 1868.
Jamie Gilbert-Smith, managing director of M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment said: “CommBank has just made the single largest investment in women’s sport in Australia whilst also supporting Indigenous players, players with a disability and local cricket clubs around the country. It’s a landmark in Australian sports sponsorships and represents a long-term investment in the future of Australian society.
“It will serve to attract further exposure, drive participation and create sporting role models beyond the traditional ‘go-to’ male sports star, which can only have broader benefits. Sport is a metaphor for our society, and having broader role models helps reframe how we see others and ourselves. Brands are shaped by the role they play in people’s lives. They become more successful and create broader impact than those solely interested in commercial messages. This is a powerful and progressive move by CommBank.”
“Our partnership with Australian cricket has been unbroken for close to 30 years,” said Commonwealth Bank CEO, Ian Narev.
“Over this time we have continued to innovate together. This next phase will focus on broadening participation in what is already our national game. We will work together to strengthen the foundations of cricket for women, Indigenous players, players with disabilities and the local clubs around the country that are the lifeblood of the game.
“Cricket Australia and Commonwealth Bank have a shared commitment to innovation and inclusiveness in our respective fields. Our on-going partnership will give cricket fans and players of all ages, genders, cultures and abilities the chance to step up to the crease and get involved in Australia’s favourite summer pastime.”
The announcement comes less than two weeks after the NSW Lendlease Breakers made history by becoming the country’s first fully professional domestic women’s sporting team. Breakers players now earn at least the minimum of $35,000, with the top international players earning $100,000 or more.