Steel products supplier Uptonsteel has stepped up its association with Leicestershire County Cricket Club by acquiring the naming rights to its ground.

With immediate effect, the County Ground at Grace Road, Leicester will be officially known as the Uptonsteel County Ground. The deal will run across the 2021 domestic season with Uptonsteel having been the front of shirt and wicket sponsor for Leicestershire for the past four years. This agreement will also continue in 2021.

James Upton, managing director of Uptonsteel, said: “We’ve been supporters of the Running Foxes for about four years and have benefited from the exposure offered to us through previous sponsorship opportunities.

“We’re really proud to be named as the official ground naming rights sponsor. At Uptonsteel we’re really passionate about sport and the Running Foxes have played a big part in our region’s community for so long, we want to support the club’s future.”

Club management said Uptonsteel’s deal comes after Fischer Future Heat decided not to renew the naming rights partnership that had been running for five years. Leicestershire chief executive Sean Jarvis told the Leicestershire Live website that recent sponsorship and advertising deals, as well as membership renewals, was helping the club through COVID-19.

Leicestershire was forced to play its entire 2020 season behind closed doors, with Jarvis stating the club lost between £200,000 (€226,200/$273,800) and £250,000 in the final three months of the year after being forced to cancel traditional revenue raisers such as Christmas parties and fireworks displays.

He added: “We picked up a number of new partners during the latter part of last year and start of this year. We were talking to Fischer through last year about renewing the title rights for the ground, and eventually they came to the conclusion they did not want to renew, but they are still supporters of the club.

“So we offered it to other businesses who have been involved with the club. Uptonsteel have been tremendous supporters for a number of years and as our main shirt sponsors wanted to take the opportunity. The agreement is for 2021 and we hope to make it longer term.”

Image: Marplesmustgo/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size