LONDON: As the final Ashes test match gets under way the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is hoping to use the England team's series victory to position itself as a "passion point" between fans and brands.

Chief sales and marketing officer Sanjay Patel noted that almost 10m people in the UK are interested in cricket in an ordinary year and that figure increases during an Ashes series, when England are playing Australia.

"We take advantage of it in a couple of ways," he explained to Marketing Week.

"Firstly, we use our digital channels to engage people and recruit new fans. We have got huge reach on our channels, with over three million [followers] on social media, and with our content we try to think about the digital journey of a fan."

The second tack involves promoting the Team England brand, which is also good for partners, which include team sponsor Waitrose, official car supplier Toyota and broadcaster Sky.

In addition, outreach work has boosted the number of female players to around 63,000, and Kia Motors has built on its sponsorship of the Surrey team and its ground – now known as the Kia Oval – to become the sole title sponsor of England women's home tests and Ashes series.

"Cricket has been very successful for us," Paul Philpott, president and chief executive of Kia Motors UK, told the Telegraph, reporting the brand was on track to sell more than 80,000 cars in the UK for the first time this year.

While Patel wanted sponsorship revenues to grow he didn't think that necessarily meant adding more sponsorship categories and attracting more advertisers.

"It's more a case of offering new rights for partners, particularly in the area of digital," he said. "I see that as a huge growth area and one that brands need and want.

"Brands are desperate for content and we have huge amounts of it and massive reach, so we want brands to see us as the passion point between the consumer and their brand."

Data sourced from Marketing Week, Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff