Hampshire’s home ground, the Ageas Bowl, is to be known as the Utilita Bowl, after the club agreed a new naming-rights deal with Utilita Energy amid plans to become the “world’s greenest cricket ground”.
The venue, which was originally known as the Rose Bowl when it opened in 2001, has since become a major South Coast venue for sport, music and leisure, with its on-site hotels and golf course backing onto a ground that has hosted 50 men’s internationals in the past two decades, including the inaugural World Test Championship final in 2021.
The plans for the ground’s “pro-planet partnership” include the installation of more than 1,000 solar panels, capable of generating around 25 percent of the electricity used in the stadium each year. This, according to a club statement, will save the venue a six-figure sum each year in electricity costs – as well as 80 tonnes of carbon per year, the same level of emissions produced by driving 301,855 miles in the average passenger vehicle.
“We’re delighted to partner with Utilita, a Hampshire-based business who share our values and can now help shape our vision of creating the greenest international cricket venue in the world,” David Mann, CEO at Utilita Bowl, said. “This is the dawn of a new era for the venue, and we’re excited by the possibilities this partnership will offer.”
The announcement comes in the same week that more than 70 local residents gathered outside the venue to protest against Hampshire’s plans to build a new 171-home development on ground near the local village of West End, including a budget hotel, a wellbeing centre and a care home.