Warwickshire County Cricket Club has released its annual report for the 2017/18 financial year as it prepares for the biggest programme of major match cricket that the club’s Edgbaston Stadium has ever hosted.
"Off the field, the club achieved its primary objective in the last financial year by securing a substantial 31-day allocation of major match cricket, between 2020 and 2024."
Craig Flindall, Chief Operating Officer of Warwickshire CCC, said: “Off the field, the club achieved its primary objective in the last financial year by securing a substantial 31-day allocation of major match cricket, between 2020 and 2024, in the England & Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) tender process. This includes an Ashes Test match, T20 Finals Day each year and Tests in four of the five summers, whilst Edgbaston will also host a team in the ECB’s new 100-ball domestic tournament.
“With major match cricket continuing to be the primary driver of revenue for the club, this strong allocation and new tournament opportunity underpins our long-term financial model.”
The 2018 summer saw Edgbaston host England’s only Vitality International T20 versus Australia in addition to the opening Test of the five-match Specsavers Test series versus India. The Birmingham venue also hosted Vitality Blast Finals Day for the tenth time in -front of a sell-out crowd.
Warwickshire CCC’s turnover in the 2017/18 financial year decreased by £200,000 (one per cent) to £17.3m in comparison to 2016/17 due to a reduced allocation of seven major match days in 2018, with the venue hosting 11 days in 2017, five of which were ICC Championship Trophy fixtures.
Flindall added: “Together with the reduced volume of international matches in 2018, our analysis showed that starting the Test Match on a Wednesday had a negative impact on our ticket sales, whilst catering and merchandise revenues were restricted by the early finish before lunch on day four.”
An increase in cost of sales of £600,000, due to higher match staging costs, saw the club record an operating profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £1.7m, down £760,000 on the previous year.
"The 2019 summer is arguably the biggest in the history of English cricket, and Edgbaston will play a major part in this."
Neil Snowball, Chief Executive of Warwickshire CCC, said: “Whilst the financial results in 2018 were below our expectations, we achieved our primary business objective of securing an excellent major match allocation for 2020-2024. We also completed the restructure of our governance structure which reflects the dynamic and diverse organisation that we are.
“On the field, the team achieved its main objective by securing a return to Division One of the Specsavers County Championship, as Division Two champions, at the first attempt whilst the transition of the squad continued, with the development of several young, homegrown players and further targeted external recruitment.
“The 2019 summer is arguably the biggest in the history of English cricket, and Edgbaston will play a major part in this by hosting five marquee games in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, including the ICC World Cup Semi Final on 11 July, the opening Test of the Specsavers Ashes series and Vitality Blast Finals Day.
“Ticket demand for these games has been unprecedented, with the opening three days of the Ashes already sold out and the ballot allocations for the World Cup being exhausted. Finals Day sales tickets are also up by nearly 25 per cent compared with this time in 2018.
“With such a strong 2019 schedule and the identity of all teams in the new domestic tournament set to be revealed in the coming months, we have a fantastic opportunity to both deliver financially and leave a lasting legacy for the game in Birmingham, Warwickshire and the wider West Midlands.”