Advertising in cricket has reached a new level, with umpires in the Big Bash League set to advertise a sponsor in their underarms. According to a report in the The Guardian, Cricket Australia announced a partnership with the Australian deodorant and antiperspirant brand Rexona. A part of the deal requires the umpires in the BBL to sport pictures of the product's branding under their arms, which might be fully revealed while signaling during a match.
Rexona has also that it is in the process of trademarking “pit-vertising” as it seeks to find fresh space for advertising. The deal will generate a record $70m in sponsorship this summer for Cricket Australia.
Meanwhile, in a bid to keep spot-fixing at bay in the upcoming Big Bash following the introduction of 'Bash Boost' rule, Cricket Australia will be warning commentators and players not to have pointed on-field conversations. Last month, Cricket Australia introduced three new rules -- 'Power Surge', 'X-factor Player' and 'Bash Boost' for the tenth edition of the Big Bash League (BBL) which starts Thursday in order to "encourage and reward positive, high-scoring cricket" in the tournament.
The 'Bash Boost' is a bonus point which will be given midway through the second innings. The side that is chasing down the target will be awarded with the bonus point, "if they're above the equivalent 10-over score of their opposition". However, if they're trailing, the fielding side will receive the point.
According to a report in The Age, CA will work with commentators from host broadcasters Seven West Media and Fox Cricket to ensure they do not ask questions of mic'd up batsmen leading into and during the 10th over that could jeopardise the integrity of betting markets.
However, former ICC Chief Executive and an anti-corruption expert Malcolm Speed doesn't believe that BBL's latest move will increase the threat of spot fixing and pitch siding.
"It's one of many aspects of the game that can be bet on but it would be a bit obvious. If a fixer wanted to do something, there are more subtle ways of doing it than that," Speed said.
"I wouldn't be too concerned about it. If you want to have an exotic field, you can choose if it's the eighth over, the 10th over, the 12th over ... and if you have got the fix in, that's an opportunity. But I don't think putting the emphasis on the 10th over is going to have the bookies doing handstands and saying: 'That's our opportunity, that's the one we have been waiting for'. I don't think it's any different to what's been there previously," he added.
The Age report also quoted local bookies saying that they don't think they would be allowed to take bets on the mid-innings result because of tight regulations put in place by Cricket Australia. However, they feel the bonus-point ruling will give dodgy overseas bookies more options potentially increasing the threat of illegal activities such as spot fixing in the tournament which is expected to generate more than $3 billion in betting.