A share sale process will grant sports fans from across the world the chance to own part of Lord’s, the ground regarded as the ‘Home of Cricket’.
The initiative, which will be launched today (Wednesday), is connected to the long-running tussle between Marylebone Cricket Club, owner of the London stadium, and property developer Charles Rifkind, who in 1999 outbid the MCC at a public auction for land connected to the Nursery End of the ground.
UK newspaper the Daily Mail said the New Commonwealth Consortium will be selling shares at £500 (€570/$698) each in the strip of underground tunnels that run along the entire length of the Nursery End. The consortium is being led by former MCC chief executive Keith Bradshaw and David Gower, former captain of the England cricket team and now a presenter for UK pay-television broadcaster Sky.
Lord’s management is not involved in the project as the land is being marketed by Rifkind through his company Rifkind Associates. Rifkind’s redevelopment proposal for the Nursery End was rejected by the MCC in September, with the Club instead choosing to rebuild the Compton, Edrich, Tavern and Allen stands at Lord’s by using its own funds.
The share sale will be backed by a major marketing campaign that will reportedly target the major cricket nations of India and Australia, as well as the United States. Those that buy into the Nursery End through the consortium will receive a cryptocurrency coin as proof of purchase.
The Mail stated the scheme is more likely to be looked upon as a long-term investment opportunity as Lord’s still holds a 119-year lease on the top 18 inches of land above the tunnels. Bradshaw said: “Let us hope that the expected groundswell of opinion that accompanies the launch of this new ‘common wealth’ will inspire the guardians of this great club to act, rather than witness another fallow and frustrating decade.
“But those participating in the purchase should not be under any illusion: the long-term development rights are possible but negotiation with MCC is challenging and might well prove fruitless.”