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Under a new sponsorship deal between Cricket Australia and Rexona, logos will be shown on the underarms of umpires throughout the summer.  (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Under a new sponsorship deal between Cricket Australia and Rexona, logos will be shown on the underarms of umpires throughout the summer. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Cricket Australia has revealed deodorant manufacturer Rexona has agreed to a sponsorship deal which will help it ‘own the underarm space’ over the summer.

The deodorant company will have its logos featured on the underarms of umpires, with TV cameras set to focus on the logos whenever a player is given out or a boundary is hit.

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The company is the 22nd corporate sponsor to sign an agreement with Cricket Australia, as the organisation looks to recoup some of the estimated $100 million in lost revenue as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Cricket Australia has seen a 23% growth in sponsorship revenue since 2018, when it lost several sponsors in the wake of the ball-tampering saga which saw Test captain Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft suspended from the game.

Head of commercial development for Cricket Australia, Nick Thodey, told The Australian CA believed the underarm sponsorship would be one of the first of its kind.

“We are constantly on the lookout for brands that want to innovate and do things differently,’’ he said.

“We don’t believe this has been done anywhere in the world, and there has been a strong collabor­ative effort with the broadcasters as well.

“There will be a Rexona logo just under the underarm, and there will be an integration with the broadcast as well that the cameras will focus on (the logo) during the play.”

The announcement was met with a small, yet bemused reaction from cricket fans online.

Some though, were not convinced of the merit of selling the underarms of umpires.

In an interview with The Guardian, sports marketing academic at the University of Melbourne Robin Canniford said it risked making a mockery of the men in the middle.

“Putting a marketing stunt under their arm, while it’s humorous and clever, actually risks reducing the seriousness of somebody who actually has a very difficult job,” he said.

“Putting it under the arm is better than blazing it in neon lights, but as soon as a finger goes up, Rexona’s brand value is increased.

“That’s hardly a value-free action – wickets make money.”

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