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Durham County Cricket Club (Durham CCC) and main club sponsor Emirates Airline have unveiled the new name of the North East’s very own Test Match arena. Following a high profile public competition to help rename the Chester-le-Street venue, a panel of judges decided that the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground is the name to take the region’s cricket into the future.
The name was announced prior to the first Friends Provident t20 fixture of the season between Durham Dynamos and Lancashire Lightning, in front of a sell out crowd of 8,000 and a host of key figures from Emirates Airline. The Dubai based airline’s significant six year deal with Durham CCC represents the latest stage of the club’s plans to match its success on the field with major developments off it, and it now joins the ranks of Emirates’ global portfolio of sporting sponsorships.
Emirates cabin crew, from L to R: Maurice Flanagan (Executive Vice Chairman, Emirates Airline and Group) and Clive Leach (Chairman, Durham County Cricket Club).
The competition to help rename the Chester-le-Street ground was won by Robin Harker of Northallerton and his son Paul, both regular attendees of matches at the venue. Robin and Paul were present at the unveiling ceremony and are now looking forward to the once in a lifetime experience of jetting out to Brisbane courtesy of Emirates, to watch all five days of the first Ashes Test in November this year.
Robin said: “To have been able to help Durham County Cricket Club rename their ground as they move into a new and exciting era has been wonderful. And of course the prize that we have won is absolutely fantastic.
“We think that having Emirates Airline on board really puts Durham County Cricket Club and now the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground on the map, and it is great to see the club’s home among the most prestigious venues in world sport.”
The Emirates competition to rename Durham CCC’s home ground received a huge number of entries, with suggestions coming in from across the North East, UK and overseas. The judging panel included Stacy Hall, Director of Communications at One North East, George Garlick, chief executive of Durham County Council, Brian Aitken, Editor of The Journal newspaper, David Harker, chief executive of Durham CCC and Laurie Berryman, Manager UK North of Emirates.
Emirates cabin crew, from L to R: Conrad Clifford (Vice President, Emirates), Robin Harker (competition winner), Clive Leach (Chairman, DCCC), Maurice Flanagan (Executive Vice Chairman, Emirates Airline and Group),
David Harker (CEO, DCCC), Laurrie Berryman (UK Manager North, Emirates).
David Harker, chief executive of Durham County Cricket Club, said: “The competition was really well received by our supporters and sports lovers from the North East and further afield. A great amount of thought went into many of the entries and there was some excellent reasoning behind the ideas we received. It was great to see the interest and passion that people have for both Durham County Cricket Club and the future of international cricket in our region.
“The winning suggestion encapsulates all the key elements of what Durham County Cricket Club and Emirates Airline have set out to achieve with our exciting new partnership. The Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground is a name that reinforces the venue as an important fixture on the international sporting scene, a status we have worked hard to achieve, while reinforcing our place in the North East to raise awareness of the region around the world.”
Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice Chairman Emirates Airline & Group, who was present at the ground for the unveiling, said: “The renaming of Durham’s County Ground to the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground will further cement our presence in the North East where we already fly daily from Newcastle to Dubai and beyond. The atmosphere here at today’s game was something very special and I’m tremendously proud to attach the Emirates brand to a venue so important within the North East community.”
© Cricket World 2010