Digicel ends West Indies cricket sponsorship

Sponsorship likely to have been costing Denis O’Brien’s firm over $5m annually

The West Indies cricket team sponsorship was among the highest-profile in Digicel’s stable, which has also included deals with Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Pryce. Photograph: Timothy Clary/AFP/Getty Images

The West Indies cricket team sponsorship was among the highest-profile in Digicel’s stable, which has also included deals with Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Pryce. Photograph: Timothy Clary/AFP/Getty Images

 

Denis O’Brien’s Caribbean telco, Digicel, has ended its sponsorship of the West Indies cricket team a year early.

The 13-year-old sponsorship was renewed in 2016 for a three-year period, but Digicel and Cricket West Indies confirmed it is being terminated. It is understood a new title sponsor is waiting in the wings, to be announced shortly.

The value of the sponsorship was not revealed, but it is likely to have been costing Mr O’Brien’s company well in excess of $5 million (€4.2 million) annually. The five-year deal from 2007 to 2012, for example, had a minimum payment of $20 million (€17 million).

Market turmoil

“Over the years, we have been very successful in forging sponsorship partnerships . . . This approach has helped us to grow the Digicel brand,” said Raymond Leclercq, Digicel’s chief executive.

The sponsorship was among the highest-profile in Digicel’s stable, which has also included deals with Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Pryce.

Meanwhile, Digicel’s bonds fell to a two-year low this week, as emerging markets investments were hammered in the market turmoil sparked by the Italian election and euro crisis.

Digicel is currently on an investor roadshow in the United States and Britain. It has told bondholders it expects full-year results to the end of March to show revenues of $2.4 billion (€2 billion) and adjusted earnings of over $1 billion (€860 million).