The New Forest Thunder Knights baseball club are delighted to announce their first sponsorship agreement with a UK firm. 

Ringwood based agriculture and machinery specialists, Merlo, have provided funding for the new team – enabling them to purchase vital equipment ahead of their debut season.

Given the inclusive nature of baseball in the UK, the funding will go towards providing equipment that enables those who are new to the game to learn the sport in the best possible environment.

Knights’ General Manager, Andy Moore, said:

“We’re incredibly thankful to Merlo for their support as we go about setting up the club. 

“The Thunder Knights ethos is all about community, so to receive the backing of a company based in the New Forest is a major win for us.

“Every bit of support allows us to grow baseball on the South Coast, helping beginners and experienced players alike to fall in love with the sport.”

James Knight, Marketing Coordinator at Merlo UK said:

“During Merlo’s thirty years in the UK, we have prided ourselves in our support of sports teams, charities and community groups local to our offices in Hampshire.

“The commitment and tenacity demonstrated by the Thunder Knights embodies the audacious spirit of our founders in 1964 and 1997 across Italy and the UK.

“We look forward to supporting the Thunder Knights in their efforts to grow the game of baseball in the New Forest area through 2023 and beyond.”

The news comes after the club also received the backing of the AFC Bournemouth Community Fund on ‘Cherry Monday’. US based baseball journal, the Twin Bill, have also funded the team’s match balls for the 2023 season.

With baseball continuing to grow across the UK, every element of support from local organisations, like Merlo, is incredibly valuable to start up clubs. As well as helping with the purchase of equipment, the funding will allow the New Forest based team to build on the interest they have received from potential new players after a recent appearance on BBC South Today.

Like the game of baseball, Merlo themselves are an international institution, with their UK base in Ringwood. The company specialises in rotating telehandlers, patented cab suspension and hydrostatic transmissions, and it is a mainstay of the international agriculture and machinery industry.

In 2022 the company invested in its Ringwood premises, allowing for the construction of a bespoke training centre on site. More than 250 Merlo specialist trainees have undertaken courses at this facility since its development. 

As part of their commitment to their staff and the local community, the company readily supports local endeavours, particularly to help boost health and wellbeing.

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