Lancashire Cricket posts record financials, Warwickshire appoints CEO

Lancashire Cricket/Emirates Old Trafford

Lancashire Cricket Club has reported its highest ever annual turnover of £34m (€38m/$41.6m) for the 2019 financial year, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) having risen to a record £7.6m.

The EBITDA represents a tenfold increase since 2015 and is as an all-time record for a first-class cricket county, excluding minority interests and legacy reserves. The club’s net profit was £5m, also a new record.

Lancashire Cricket chief executive Daniel Gidney said: “2019 was a landmark year for the club when years of investment in talent and the infrastructure of Emirates Old Trafford was rewarded and truly reflected in our financial results. I’m delighted that all key business streams performed ahead of expectations.

“To generate in excess of £30m of non-broadcast revenues is truly remarkable and, to put it in perspective, better than some Premier League clubs. These results are a record for published accounts, excluding minority interests and legacies, for any first-class county and make this a proud day for the Red Rose.”

Last year saw Lancashire’s Emirates Old Trafford host matches during the Cricket World Cup and the Ashes series, with the ground staging 12 days of top-level cricket in total. Lancashire said that overall revenues across the Cricket World Cup and Ashes matches exceeded £17.5m.

The club has been able to maximise its revenue returns as a result of the decade-long, £60m redevelopment of Emirates Old Trafford, which in recent years has added an on-site Hilton Garden Inn Hotel.

Lancashire Cricket also saw attendances grow during the Vitality Blast competition, with ticket sales having increased by 34 per cent over the course of the 2019 campaign compared with 2018.

Returns from international cricket were supported by £8.4m of revenue from conference and events at Emirates Old Trafford. The Hilton Hotel grew its average annual occupancy from 71 per cent to 78 per cent in its second full year of trading.

Last year, Emirates Old Trafford was fitted with two new electronic scoreboards and a replay screen, along with a new LED ribbon running in front of two major stands.

Lancashire said that it has returned to a positive reserves balance of £1.7m for the first time since 2010, with the club having also reduced its net current liabilities position in the year from £8.7m down to £489,008. The club also reduced its reliance on advanced cricket receipts by a further £4m.

Lancashire secured new long-term banking facilities with Metro Bank in 2019 to consolidate its existing debt, extend the repayment profile and reduce the annual interest burden.

Gidney added: “Clearly, these are now tough times as the club navigates its way through the current COVID-19 pandemic, but these results at least help relieve that financial burden. Our priority now is to work with our stakeholders to find a way for cricket to return as quickly as it is safe to do so. This will help us protect future revenues as much as possible and allow us to continue to invest in our infrastructure for the benefit of our members and supporters.

“I would also like to personally thank all of Lancashire Cricket’s stakeholders for their continued and overwhelming support, not only in the last few months, which of course have been hugely challenging for everyone involved with the club, but also over a number of years too.”

Warwickshire CCC/Edgbaston

Warwickshire County Cricket Club has appointed Stuart Cain as its new CEO, to replace Neil Snowball.

Cain joins Warwickshire after three years at Wasps Holdings Limited where he held a number of positions, most recently CEO, and helped establish Wasps rugby and netball teams at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena after the move from London.

In that time, he has also developed the Ricoh Arena’s conference, exhibition and concert business, as well as its wider estate masterplan, including the development of additional hotel, retail and leisure space.

Prior to joining Wasps, Cain spent more than seven years with the NEC Group as managing director of commercial marketing. His career has also included commercial and marketing leadership roles in football with English Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers and Scottish Premiership team Rangers, as well as leading the sports practice of global media agency WPP.

Cain’s appointment comes after Mark McCafferty, former chief executive of Premiership Rugby, was appointed as the new chair of Warwickshire in December. McCafferty said today (Tuesday): “We’re delighted that Stuart will be joining us at the Bears. His experience and achievements in sport, events and venue development will complement very well the existing leadership strengths at the club and help ensure the delivery of our new five-year plan.

“These are difficult times for everyone to navigate but we appreciate more than ever the huge role that the club plays in the community and the enjoyment that we can bring to so many when we return.

“It’s very clear that we shall now need to adapt and enhance our engagement with members, fans, commercial partners and cricket communities locally and overseas. Stuart’s experience will be central to that growth and we look forward to welcoming him to the Bears.”

Cain is expected to join Warwickshire in August following the departure of Neil Snowball, who will leave Edgbaston after four and a half years as CEO to take up a position as managing director of county cricket with the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Cain said: “In Edgbaston, we have one of the world’s great sporting venues, which consistently stages the biggest fixtures in the game and offers outstanding facilities that can be utilised all year round. Part of my role will be to develop this multi-use philosophy further.

“With the second phase of the masterplan due to get underway soon and a third phase due to be launched in the near future, I’m looking forward to working with the team at Edgbaston and with our major local and national stakeholders to support the development of cricket in Birmingham, Warwickshire and the wider West Midlands.”