Sponsors could leave disgraced England star after Bristol bar fiasco

Sports finance expert Rob Wilson comments on the potential consequences of cricket star Ben Stokes’ recent controversial behaviour.

Sports finance expert Rob Wilson has commented on the recent behaviour of disgraced England cricket star Ben Stokes for The Daily Express. This follows events outside of a Bristol nightclub which saw the cricket star involved in a brawl. The article questions how Stokes’ tarnished image could affect his sponsorships and career, whilst Rob Wilson describes it as a “pretty toxic situation”.

When Ben Stokes was snapped up by the Rising Pune Supergiant at the Indian Premier League auction back in February, he hailed his £1.7m salary as ‘life-changing’.

Events outside the Mbargo nightclub in Bristol on Monday night could have a similarly transformative effect.

Ben Stokes has already been given the cold shoulder by England and now the heat will be on his sponsors after a week that has forever tarnished the reputation of one of world cricket’s biggest stars.

One leading sports marketing figure, Tim Wright, the former head of IMG in India, believes that Stokes’ actions on Monday night – regardless of what prompted them – could cost him as much as £30m over the course of his career.


The video of Stokes’ brawling left the ECB with no choice but to take immediate action against him. Within 24 hours, similarly disgraceful footage of Stokes mimicking Katie Price’s disabled son did further damage.

Professional sports people tend to try and keep a relatively clean nose. They try and link playing success to the brand. Little misdemeanours can be glossed over but this is something else entirely, this is a pretty toxic situation.

England’s sponsors could also put pressure on the ECB to think twice about picking him in the future because of what has happened. – Rob Wilson, sports finance expert at Sheffield Hallam University.

His behaviour won’t have gone unnoticed in India, where he earned £1.7m for two months work in last season’s IPL.

He could have expected to at least match that figure in the 2018 auction after being named the tournament’s most valuable player in his first season.

One former IPL coach has told Express Sport that it would now take a brave franchise to sign him, regardless of the fee, after the events of last week.

In the short term, though, the question isn’t how much he’s worth. The question is whether he’ll ever play for his country again.

This story originally appeared in The Daily Express 1 October 2017

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