Warwickshire confirm Birmingham Bears team name for NatWest t20 Blast
Warwickshire County Cricket Club has confirmed that its team will be known as the Birmingham Bears in the new NatWest t20 Blast tournament, which was unveiled this morning by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Colin Povey, Chief Executive of Warwickshire CCC, said: “Birmingham and Edgbaston has been the Club’s home since 1886 and we believe that adopting the Birmingham Bears name for the NatWest t20 Blast presents a great opportunity for us to engage even more closely with fans living and working at the heart of the City. Asian families, business men and women working in the city’s commercial districts and local cricket clubs are three particular audiences the Club is seeking to work with more next season.
“T20 games in 2014 will predominantly be played on Friday evenings, so this fixed slot gives supporters a time that we hope will be associated with the Birmingham Bears; similar to Saturday afternoon football or rugby.
“However, despite our t20 name change, we will continue to maintain the proud history of the Club and play under the Warwickshire banner in the other two more traditional formats.”
Birmingham Bears play seven games at Edgbaston in the NatWest t20 Blast, with five matches scheduled on Friday evenings. They begin their campaign at home to Yorkshire Vikings on Friday 23rd May, and take on local rivals Worcestershire in the eagerly awaited West Midlands derby on Friday 11th July.
Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The Birmingham Bears t20 team is an incredibly exciting proposition that can unite sports fans across the city on Friday evenings next summer.
“The Club and the redeveloped stadium provide so many great opportunities for the local communities to play and watch world-class cricket here in Birmingham, and I’m looking forward to seeing people get behind the Bears and hopefully roar them on to a Finals Day at Edgbaston in August.”
As well as being home to the Bears, Edgbaston is currently the home of the NatWest t20 Blast Finals Day for the next three summers, with the event scheduled to be staged in Birmingham in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Neil Rami, Chief Executive of Marketing Birmingham, added: “Birmingham has a reputation for hosting some of the most compelling tournaments in sport, which is one of the reasons why we attract nearly 34 million tourists to the city each year. About a quarter of our visitors come here because they are attending or participating in a sports event.
“Edgbaston has already proved to be a prestigious sporting venue – with thousands of cricket fans flocking to Birmingham to watch the ICC Champions Trophy during the summer – and the new t20 matches will provide another opportunity to showcase both the revamped stadium and the city as a whole.”
Tickets for the NatWest t20 Blast Finals Day are currently on-sale at www.edgbaston.com or through the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 1902. Tickets for the Birmingham Bears seven group games go on-sale in the New Year.