England Hockey says it is in talks with potential men’s sponsors before next season’s regional and county restructure.
In what could be a huge boost for the sport ahead of one of the biggest changes in two decades, landing a much-needed men’s partnership would also bring the English top flight in line with the women’s game after Vitality took over from Investec on Thursday.
The Vitality deal was several months in the making and follows Investec’s exit from the sport last August.
England Hockey chief executive Nick Pink sold the sport to Vitality “with the whole picture” in mind in terms of cross gender sponsorship.
And although Vitality was only focused on the women’s sport side, Pink said that talks were ongoing with potential brands for a men’s partnership, which would add extra profile to the domestic game.
Asked whether the Vitality deal was a seven-figure investment, Pink would only say that the three-year partnership was a “significant” sum.
Details announced on Thursday included GB shirt sponsorship, a partnership with the women’s and men’s Pro League internationals, as well as naming rights for the Women’s Premier Division.
With the Investec deal, the banking giant also sponsored the schools’ championships. There was no mention of this regarding Vitality’s deal, but EH admitted that it had to prove itself to the health brand in order to develop a fruitful, long-term partnership.
The partnership may also see promotion of the masters’ game given that hockey ranks as one of the top sports played from an early age right through into the eighties.
“It is this positive side of the game we need to shout about,” added Pink. “More people are playing longer than ever before.”