Industry News

Rise in match attendance, new hotel boosts Lancashire’s financials

English county cricket club Lancashire has reported a 92 per cent increase in operating profit, aided by increased attendances for major events at its Emirates Old Trafford ground and better than projected performance of the new Hilton Garden Inn hotel at the venue.

Lancashire, which is based in Manchester, has posted an operating profit of £2.347m (€2.69m/$3.3m) for the year ended December 31, 2017.

In addition, for the first time since 2014, the club has also reported a net surplus after interest of £971,000, which after hosting matches during the 2013 Ashes series between England and Australia, is the second highest reported profit in the last 20 years.

Lancashire said Test match returns significantly improved compared with 2016, despite last year’s game again starting on a Friday. Total attendance for the visit of South Africa exceeded 60,000 which was nearly 10,000 up on the previous year when England entertained Pakistan.

In addition, the Roses Twenty20 match between Lancashire and Yorkshire generated a record attendance for the fixture of nearly 20,000. Following the recent international match allocation by the England and Wales Cricket Board, which includes four Test matches in five years, as well as the appointment of Emirates OId Trafford as a host venue for the soon-to-be-launched domestic T20 competition, Lancashire said it is now able to look ahead with certainty of international cricket through to 2024.

Last year also saw the completion of the new four star 150-bedroom Hilton Garden Inn which opened for business at the end of August. The hotel exceeded expectations in its first four months of trading, achieving more than £1m of room revenue, an average occupancy of 61 per cent and average daily room rate of £92. In doing so, Lancashire said it has already been able to compete strongly against its local competitor hotels.

Lancashire said its Conference and Events business experienced some challenges in the early part of 2017 but following the opening of the new hotel, November and December saw a significant uplift in conference business and record Christmas party sales for the second year running, with further growth from combined hotel and events revenue targeted for 2018.

The club also again hosted successful concerts and most notably worked closely with many other local stakeholders in putting on the One Love Manchester event in the wake of the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena on May 22.

Lancashire’s finance director, Lee Morgan, said: “With the completion of the new hotel bringing the lengthy development period to a conclusion, the club is now able to fully focus on maximising the return on its investment by growing its business activities for the future benefit of cricket at both elite and recreational level. It is important that the club uses its world class facilities to create a lasting legacy with Emirates Old Trafford being the centre for cricket in the North West.”

The home of Lancashire Cricket Club, Emirates Old Trafford, hosts the 9th annual TheStadiumBusiness Summit & Awards on June 12-13, 2018.