ECB cashes in from World Cup with record turnover and strengthened reserves
The England and Wales Cricket Board today revealed record turnover of £228 million ($286.5 million) for 2019-20, thanks to the country's hosting of the Cricket World Cup and men's and women's Ashes series against Australia last summer.
The figure compares favourably with the £172 million in revenue reported by the ECB in 2018, which included a men's tour of India, always a lucrative series in cricket, and an average year turnover of around £125 million.
Expenditure hit £164 million, up £22 million year-on-year, due to special fee distributions paid to each of the 18 first-class counties in respect of the Cricket World Cup, which England won in thrilling style in a super over against New Zealand at Lord's in London.
In all, the ECB recorded a profit of £6.5 million, a £5.7 million increase on the board’s approved budget of £800,000, meaning reserves have increased almost £6 million to £17.1 million.
Scott Smith, chief financial officer for the ECB, said: ‘’The success of hosting the CWC19 and Men’s and Women’s Ashes on home soil saw us achieve record revenues for the game, and allowed us to distribute more funding across the game than ever before. With the impact of COVID-19 these results are somewhat bittersweet, but it is nonetheless extremely positive to know that with the right conditions, the game can continue to grow financial momentum for its stakeholders.’’
Those reserves will come in handy with the English cricket season having been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The season was originally due to start on 12 April, but was then first pushed back to 28 May as the virus swept across the UK.
It was then delayed further, until 1 July, as the pandemic continued to rage, and the ECB announced just last week that no county fixtures will take place for at least another month after that.
The first 10 rounds of the 18-team County Championship season have been lost, as well much of the time allocated to the domestic Twenty20 and one-day competitions.
The inaugural season of The Hundred, the short-form competition meant to launch in England this July and revolutionise cricket’s appeal in the country, has already been delayed to 2021.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison told the UK's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee a month ago that the organisation was "staring at a £100 million plus loss whatever happens" and a £380 million loss if no cricket can be played this year.However, there was some good news today with confirmation that a three test match series against the West Indies will go ahead next month with matches on 8 to 12 July at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and on 16 to 20 July and 24 to 28 July at Old Trafford in Manchester.
The three matches will be played behind closed doors at the bio-secure venues, which both have hotels on site.
West Indies arrive on 9 June and will be based at Old Trafford for initial quarantine and training.
The ECB said a decision on subsequent planned series against Pakistan, Australia and Ireland will be determined at a later date.The financials and dates for the West Indies fixtures were revealed at today's virtual annual general meeting, at which Ian Watmore was ratified as ECB chairman by a unanimous vote of the 41 members.He will officially take the reins in September, succeeding Colin Graves, who has spent five years in the post.
Watmore said: “I have made clear from the start of this process how important the cricket network is to our sport thriving across England and Wales. In a post-COVID-19 world, it is more important than ever before that we see sport connect communities and improve lives. That goal is only achievable with the support of the entire game and I look forward to working with the membership and other key stakeholders in delivering our ambitions.”
Watmore’s appointment was announced in February but was thrown into doubt when a newspaper report claimed that he had left the board of English soccer's second-tier English Football League in November 2018, after just four months, at a time when he was facing a misconduct case.
In particular, it was alleged that Watmore had been in talks with a number of clubs around creating a separate, breakaway league.
The ECB reacted by carrying out a review and in late April cleared Watmore, confirming him as chairman subject to ratification at the AGM.
He had denied any wrongdoing saying that he had merely mediated to try and solve an impasse over the EFL’s new rights deal with pay-television operator Sky.Sportcal