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Hodgson steps up to become Oval MD

Charlie Hodgson has been appointed as the new managing director of one of England’s leading cricket grounds, The Oval.

Hodgson (pictured) currently serves as commercial director for Surrey County Cricket Club, which plays its home games at the 24,500-seat venue. He has been involved with the club for over 25 years, having first joined as a player in the age group system before joining the commercial department in 2005.

Hodgson has spent seven years as Surrey’s commercial director and has overseen a 50 per cent growth in membership over the course of five years. Ticket sales for Twenty20 matches at The Oval have also grown, while sales in Surrey’s conference and events business have grown from £1.1m (€1.2m/$1.4m) to £6m a year since 2012.

Hodgson’s time in Surrey’s commercial department has also seen him serve as sponsorship manager and head of sales. He was promoted to the Surrey Cricket Management Board and the board of Oval Events, a joint venture between the club and Compass Group, in 2011.

Under his new role as managing director, Hodgson will retain his existing commercial responsibilities and will take on additional match-day delivery responsibilities. The Oval is this year set to host matches at the Cricket World Cup and the final Ashes Test, along with Surrey fixtures in all four domestic competitions.

“I am extremely excited to take up this new role, particular ahead of such a massive season for the club,” Hodgson said. “Our membership numbers will be the largest in modern times and 2019 will see the Kia Oval host sell out matches across the ICC Cricket World Cup, the Ashes and Surrey’s home T20s.

“With the ground set to increase in size in the next couple of years I look forward to playing a larger part in commercial operations as well as continuing to drive our off-field growth.”

Richard Gould will continue to serve as chief executive of The Oval following Hodgson’s appointment. Gould said: “Charlie has done a superb job as commercial director and this promotion will enable him to make an even wider impact on the business.

“2019 is going to be one of the biggest ever summers at the Kia Oval and with the ground hosting both the Ashes and ICC Cricket World Cup delivery of excellence is absolutely critical, in this role Charlie will be at the core of this.”

Surrey CCC announced in November that it had received full planning permission for the redevelopment of the Lock Laker Stand at The Oval, with the upgrades to expand the ground’s capacity to nearly 28,000.

As part of the development, a new three-tier stand will be built in between the Micky Stewart Members’ Pavilion and the Peter May Stand. New facilities will be fitted to enhance the match-day experience, as well as conferences, events and hospitality included in new buildings that will link to the stand, which will be known as One Oval Square. Hodgson will also be involved in the continued renovation of The Oval, with the construction of One Oval Square due to commence in October.

Richard Thompson, chairman of Surrey CCC, added: “In the last decade, the club’s turnover has doubled to over £40m. This new role has been created due to this exponential growth and I can’t think of a better and more qualified person to fill it than Charlie.

“He has been involved in the club for over 25 years and has deep roots in the Surrey cricket family. 2019 is going to be one of the most exciting years in the long history of our club and I hugely look forward to seeing the biggest games in the world played at the Kia Oval.”

Image: Kia Oval