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ECB posts record turnover on back of growing match attendance

Emirates Old Trafford hosts the 2023 Ashes Test between England and Australia

Featured image credit: Rob Ridley

Emirates Old Trafford hosts the 2023 Ashes Test between England and Australia

Featured image credit: Rob Ridley

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has reported record turnover of £336.1m (€391.3m/$424.4m), figures fuelled by rising match attendance.

Turnover for the year ending January 31, 2024, represented a £2m increase compared to the prior year. This allowed profit on ordinary activities before taxation to hit £27.9m, compared to £21.1m for the previous year.

While the ECB said the improved profit before taxation is largely down to increased interest received in the period, as the governing body benefits from higher interest rates, it also pointed to rising interest in the matchday experience.

In August, the ECB reported new attendance landmarks for last summer’s men’s and women’s Ashes series, which were promoted side-by-side for the first time.

The fifth and final men’s Test saw total attendances for both series hit 655,000. Every day of the men’s series sold out in advance – something that wasn’t achieved in either of the most recent series in England (2019) or the home team’s thrilling win in the 2005 series.

The total attendance for the men’s series was 545,000, with the ECB stating that this was higher than any recent Ashes series, 8% greater than the last series in 2019, and 14% up on the 2005 series.

The average daily men’s attendance was 23,734 across the five venues – Edgbaston, Lord’s, Headingley, Emirates Old Trafford and the Kia Oval – also higher than any recent series. A further 110,000 fans were in stadia for the women’s Ashes, 4.5 times higher than the 2019 series. The one-day international (ODI) series sold out – a first for an England women’s series.

Ticket sales of over 500,000 for domestic competition The Hundred also helped contribute to an overall cumulative year attendance of 3.1 million, the highest outside a World Cup hosting year.

Richard Thompson, ECB chair, said: “Ashes years are always special, and it’s great to see the impact that hosting the two series side-by-side had in capturing the nation’s imagination, and inspiring more interest in our sport.

“Over the past year we’ve seen further rapid growth in women’s and girls’ cricket, with soaring attendances for England Women and increasing numbers of teams at a recreational level, and we are focused on taking this to the next level this year.

“Tickets for England Women’s fixtures this summer have been selling even faster than for the Ashes, the number of professional women’s players continues to grow, and with Metro Bank we’re working to triple the number of girls’ teams by 2026 when we host the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

“Continuing this growth remains a key part of our strategy to make cricket the most inclusive team sport, along with increasing opportunities for children from state schools and ethnically diverse communities, and tackling discrimination.

“This requires strong finances and the record year we have just seen means that despite the challenges cricket – like other sports and businesses – has faced from the rising cost of living, we have been able to invest more in the professional and recreational games, support work to break down barriers, and build up our reserves to protect the sport against future shocks.

“While there is much to celebrate in our sport, there remain real challenges ahead with the global cricketing landscape continuing to change rapidly. We will continue to work collaboratively with our members and partners across cricket to make decisions in the interests of the whole game.”

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