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Vodafone dumps cricket, V8 for network

Vodafone will cut its long-held sponsorship of the cricket and V8 Supercars, and will invest the money back in its network and customer services, the company announced yesterday.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor on

Vodafone will cut its long-held sponsorship of the cricket and V8 Supercars, and will invest the money back in its network and customer services, the company announced yesterday.

Vodafone announced that it would wrap up its six-year TeamVodafone V8 Supercar sponsorship and its 11-year sponsorship of the Australian Cricket team. On its blog, the telco stated that the change was being made as "a strategic shift in its marketing and sponsorship spending, with plans to concentrate its investments in rolling out the new Vodafone mobile network and improving its customer service capabilities".

The decision was reportedly made earlier in the year under former CEO Nigel Dews, but current CEO Bill Morrow has endorsed the sponsorships' end.

The company has committed to investing $1 billion in a network overhaul. It experienced a tough year in 2011, reporting a $350 million loss and the defection of 554,000 customers, after network issues had left customers with poor voice and data service quality.

In January, the company restructured its sales and marketing departments under the leadership of consumer business unit director Noel Hamill.

Vodafone currently has exclusive rights for mobile broadcasting of cricket content on the iPhone, although this content is available to any iPhone user. The company told ZDNet Australia that this content would still be available until the end of the 2013 summer cricket season.

"Our sponsorship of both properties continues to the end of each respective season — so Cricket TV and Vodafone Viewers' Verdict remains in play for this summer, but any further arrangements will be subject to future negotiations," Vodafone said. "We're announcing [now] to provide Cricket Australia and Triple Eight sufficient lead time to seek alternative major sponsors."

Yesterday, Hamill thanked Cricket Australia and the V8 Supercar Championship for the lengthy partnerships.

"Our sponsorship of the Australian Test cricket team has delivered exceptional value and great experiences to many of our customers, so the decision to conclude the sponsorship at the end of the 2012/13 summer has not been taken lightly," he said. "We feel that it's best to refocus our investment and attention on delivering the best possible network and service experience to our customers."

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