It’s everywhere. Everyone sponsors each other. Even the sponsors have their own advertorials. The sponsors are sponsored by other sponsors. It’s another apparently necessary evil of this world.
Cricket has been victim of it for some time but has remained relatively untarnished as a result, until today with the news that Australia has struck a deal with Commonwealth Bank who have secured naming rights for their one-day team. England v Australia in a one-day match is now the stuff of history: read England v Commonwealth Bank Australia.
There are two problems with this. Firstly, it is entirely unnecessary of Cricket Australia who have now surely leap-frogged the BCCI in the Most Greedy Cricket Board league. CA have pots of cash. Sponsorship is one thing; naming rights is new, dirty territory and there can be no other reason than sheer financial greed. Secondly it sets a precedent. How long before other teams follow suit? How long before counties in England are renamed after their own sponsors or, worse, Test sides are named after their richest benefactors?
There is an irony, though. The very definition of commonwealth is just that: a “body politic,” or a government/organisation formed by the consent of the public. Does CA really expect their patriotic fans to agree to this? The old song and chant “Come on Aussie come on!” won’t have quite the same ring to it (“Come on Commonwealth Bank Australia, come on!”).