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    Lancashire chief executive urges the need for a title sponsor for the Charlotte Edwards Cup
Lancashire chief executive urges the need for a title sponsor for the Charlotte Edwards Cup
None of the women's regional competitions have a headline sponsor. Source: Getty Images

Lancashire chief executive urges the need for a title sponsor for the Charlotte Edwards Cup

Daniel Gidney, the Chief Executive of Lancashire, has urged the ECB to secure a title sponsor and a separate broadcast deal for the Charlotte Edwards Cup. This comes after Lancashire's investment in women's cricket was recognised with the award of Tier 1 status from 2025 in the restructured domestic format.

Since 2020, Lancashire has been a significant investor in Thunder, England's regional competitions, with support from Hilton and Sportsbreaks.com. This year, they will have a full-time squad of 15 professionals. Last month, they travelled to Dubai and Bangalore for their third successive pre-season tour.

Lancashire was among the counties pushing for a change in the domestic structure to invest more in their women's team. Gidney expressed his delight that Lancashire will host a Tier 1 side from next season.

To achieve this goal, Gidney suggests that the ECB should secure a title sponsor for the Charlotte Edwards Cup, the regional T20 competition, and increase their investment in promoting matches outside of the Hundred. The ECB has pledged to invest approximately £19 million in domestic women's cricket by 2027.

Gidney said:

"There is a lot of history of men's sports sponsors wanting women's competitions as an add-on. We're now at a stage where the Charlotte Edwards Cup needs to be backed, it needs to have England players available, and it needs to be taken seriously. There were more people at our quarter-final at Blackpool last year than at Finals Day at New Road."

The Charlotte Edwards Cup is included in Sky Sports' TV rights deal for English cricket, which runs from 2024-28, but the broadcaster has rarely shown matches from the competition, which are largely available via free online live streams. ECB chief executive Richard Gould has said that any changes would only be under consideration before the next rights cycle in 2029.

Thunder, who have appointed former England wicketkeeper Chris Read as their coach for the upcoming regional season, will play seven matches at Old Trafford this year. This is the most any regional team will play at a men's Test venue. The women's home dressing room has already been converted from the old away dressing room at the ground.

Lancashire is constructing a new facility at Farington, near Preston. This facility will serve as a training base for their men's and women's teams and will host some first-team matches, as well as second-team and pathway fixtures. However, Gidney emphasised that Emirates Old Trafford remains the home of Lancashire Cricket for both their men's and women's teams.

Additionally, Old Trafford will once again host women's international cricket from 2025, more than a decade since its most recent fixture. Gidney is hopeful that the Women's T20 World Cup matches will be hosted there in 2026 since there are no men's Test matches scheduled for that year.

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