sport

Lancashire rename Old Trafford

Lancashire have announced their ground will be known as Emirates Old Trafford for the next 10 years after striking a major sponsorship deal.

The arrangement, reported to be worth up to 10million and the biggest in county cricket, will help the club fund their ongoing substantial redevelopment of the venue.

Emirates' name will also appear on the front of the team's Twenty20 kits and the deal with the Dubai-based airline includes a number of other marketing rights.

Lancashire chairman Michael Cairns said: "This announcement represents another major step in the redevelopment of Old Trafford.

"The intention to secure a naming rights partner was always on our list of objectives; however, it remained paramount that we secure a partner who was actively committed to cricket and its future while at the same time had significant interests in Manchester and the north west.

"The financial benefits of this deal are a core component of our long-term strategy for commercial sustainability.

"The partnership will support our intention to be regarded as one of the top county cricket clubs in the country and undisputed as a category A Test match venue."

The deal brings considerable relief to the club after a fraught battle to rebuild Old Trafford.

A legal wrangle with a rival developer threatened the existence of the club for a time as well as delaying the project.

The team have played the majority of their County Championship home fixtures at outgrounds over the past two seasons but work is expected to be completed by May, well in time for the third Test of this summer's Ashes series in August.

Emirates also sponsors the ground to be used for the fourth Test at Chester-le-Street - the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground. The airline is also involved in the international game and currently sponsor elite umpires and other match officials.

Emirates executive vice chairman Sir Maurice Flanagan said: "We're hugely looking forward to supporting Lancashire cricket and its fans both here and abroad, in what is a further significant investment by Emirates to the region."