London, May 15 : The owner of the Marylebone Cricket Club, better known in cricket parlance as "Lords" will soon begin a campaign to become one of world sport's biggest brands.
Inspired by the marketing successes of Britain's other big sporting grounds, such as the All England Club, the home of Wimbledon, the MCC believes that the time is right to release the great untapped potential of Lord's and the instantly recognisable images associated with it.
Father Time will find himself on polo shirts and he is almost certain to be followed by the Ashes urn, which is the property of the club. The name of Thomas Lord, after whom the ground is named, is already being evoked in the interests of selling alcohol.
His signature adorns bottles of Lord's Premium 12-year-old Whisky (70cl), currently on sale for 19.99 pounds at some branches of Waitrose. Lord's Premium London Dry Gin 14.99 pounds can be found in certain branches of Threshers.
As thousands of spectators gather to watch England against New Zealand in the First Test from today, the expanded marketing department will also be hard at work.
According to The Times, the MCC has ambitious plans.
"If we do this properly, we can create one of the world's leading brands," the paper quoted the club's secretary, Keith Bradshaw, as saying.
Bradshaw said that he visited the All England Club last year and came away from it feeling that its success could be replicated across London.
"Cricket is so global now that we could link up with the cricket-playing countries and the emerging ones around the world," he said.
"Designers have been into Lord's to see how we can maximise the potential of each brand."
Jon Robinson, the club's marketing manager, also has big plans.
After strong initial sales, Lord's whisky and gin will soon go on sale across Britain. "Lord's wine could be the next product and sun cream, which is sold in the Lord's shop, could go on sale in the big stores," he added.
"We are trying to build a Lord's hierarchy. How much money will we make out of this? How long is a piece of string?
We are not doing any projections for this year."
Money raised is expected to go not towards the 200 million pound redevelopment of the ground but to the MCC's "spirit of cricket" initiative, which promotes the game.
Story first published: Thursday, May 15, 2008, 13:06 [IST]
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