With South Asians becoming the biggest visible minority in this country, a second Canadian bank has taken the cricket sponsorship route to woo them. After the Royal Bank of Canada – the country’s largest bank – announced cricket sponsorships in February, the second largest bank – Scotiabank – Thursday announced a three-year sponsorship agreement with Cricket Canada.
With this, Scotiabank becomes the premier sponsor and official bank of the sport in the country.
Making this announcement, Rania Llewellyn, vice president for multiculturalism banking, said: “We are very proud to take on this pre-eminent national sponsorship of cricket in Canada.
“The popularity of cricket in the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Guyana and the West Indies has carried over into several of Canada’s multicultural communities.
“We look forward to working with Cricket Canada to enhance the sport’s appeal across the country at both the professional and community levels.
“We continue to look for new ways to serve Canada’s multicultural communities by offering products and services that reflect the needs and interests of our customers.”
As part of the sponsorship, the three-day Scotiabank National Cricket Championships will be held from May 17 at the Maple Leaf Cricket Club in King City near Toronto.
The sponsorship includes the Scotiabank National Under-19 Championship, which will be held later this year.
A press release said Cricket Canada and Scotiabank will work to develop a children and youth-centric programme to promote the sport in the country where it once enjoyed a great following till the National Hockey League (NHL) replaced it in the early 20th century.
The bank said this agreement builds on its long-standing involvement with cricket, including the sponsorship of the ICC Cricket World Cup in the West Indies in 2007.
In the Caribbean region where the bank has a huge presence, its Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket since 2000 has helped over 220,000 children learn the sport, which is interwoven with the local culture.
“Scotiabank has a long-standing involvement with cricket at the national and community levels in other countries,” said Cricket Canada president Ben Sennik.
“We look forward to working with them to bring a renewed Canadian emphasis and ensure the growth of this great game whose roots in this country can be traced back to the late 1700s,” he said.
Expecting more such sponsorships soon, Cricket Canada CEO Atul Ahuja said: “As we become a professionally-run organization and contract professional players, sponsorships of this kind add value to the sport and the corporate sector”.
Established in 1892, Cricket Canada, formerly the Canadian Cricket Association, is the national regulatory body for cricket in Canada.
Scotiabank with branches in over 50 countries, including five in India, spent more than Canadian $43 million ($42 million) in sponsorships and donations last year.