The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has signed an exclusive deal with totesport to become the sponsor of the totesport League, formerly known as the National Cricket League. The agreement represents totesport’s first major sports sponsorship deal outside its traditional sponsorship of horseracing.

The two-year sponsorship deal with the ECB covers 162 totesport League matches each season. Thirty-one games will be televised this year on Sky Sports, 22 of which will be floodlit. The opening round of totesport League matches will be held on the Sunday 25 April with eight games taking place at different county grounds around the UK. The first televised totesport League match will be between Essex and Warwickshire on Monday 3 May.

The totesport League is the ECB’s county one-day competition in which the 18 first class counties and Scotland are split into a first division of nine teams and a second division of ten teams. Counties play 45 over matches both home and away against each of the other teams in the division, with the top three in Division Two promoted at the expense of the bottom three in Division One. Surrey won the Division One Championship in 2003, with Lancashire the victors in Division Two.

Peter Jones, Chairman of the tote, commented: ‘Following hard on the heels of our recent rebranding this is a very exciting development, which allows us to be recognised as the broad betting organisation that we are.

‘Totesport is keen to spread its success by widening its portfolio to other high profile sports. We hope that the benefits we have brought to the sport of horseracing can be developed elsewhere and look forward to being part of what is expected to be a great season for the totesport League.’

Joe Scanlon, Managing Director of totesport, said: ‘This is an excellent opportunity for totesport to demonstrate our commitment to sports other than horseracing. We have provided a full range of sports betting opportunities, for many years, but this sponsorship will help communicate that message to a wider audience.’

‘We will be providing a wide selection of bets to keep cricket fans interested throughout the season. In the early betting, Surrey, after their victory last year, are 9/4 to win the totesport League Division One, with Lancashire close behind at 7/2. Worcestershire are the favorites to win the totesport League Division Two.’

Tim Lamb, ECB Chief Executive, said: ‘I am delighted that we have concluded a deal with totesport, thus bringing in a new partner to cricket. The competition has been running since 1969 and has consistently provided excellent entertainment to cricket fans throughout England, Wales and Scotland. We look forward to working closely with totesport over the next two seasons.’

For further information contact ECB Corporate Affairs on 020 7432 1200