Durham Cricket Club: Covid Impacts Matchday Revenues

Durham Cricket Club Takes Action as Covid-19 Impacts Matchday Revenues.
Durham Cricket Club says it will be in a stable position as it enters the new season, despite taking a hit during the Covid-19 pandemic. The club says it has had to carry out cost-cutting measures after seeing a significant drop in revenues during lockdown.

The moves come as it publishes its latest accounts, for the year ended September 2019, which saw it return to profit on the back of hosting several sellout international matches.

Turnover rose from £5.016m to £6.55m as a result of staging the three world cup matches, with international match revenue helping to offset domestic match takings. Last year’s loss of £1.168m was also turned to operating profit if £193,712 and the overall loss from last year of £1.1m was converted to profit of £139,983.

A breakdown in turnover showed match income rose from £951,474 to £1.19m and that membership subscriptions dipped from £307,729 to £293,955. Commercial sponsorshp also dropped from £1.233m to £1.087m

ECB England and Wales Cricket Board distribution, however, increased from £2.177m to £3.553m.

Overall employee numbers rose from 77 to 88, including a rise of four on the playing team from 37 to 41.

In his report, chairman Sir Ian Botham said 2019 was one of mixed fortunes “in that while we have made great strides in some areas, we ultimately had a year of transition on and off the pitch”. He continued: “Despite the early season struggles in the champonship, a revival mid-season saw us remain in the promotion hunt until the penultimate game, finishing fifth.

“After some promising performances by our younger players they should be stronger for that experience in 2020 where promotion must be the aim.

“A disappointing seasons in the Vitality T20 blast saw us miss out on a Quarter Final place despite starting the competition well.”

The club hosted three sold out cricket world Cup matches during the year, reaffirming the support that Durham and the region gives England and touring international teams each year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hampered the start of what the club had hoped would be a promotion chasing campaign, but the club said it was continuing to undertake a number of contingency measures to protect the business going forward.

It said it was managing to cut costs by closing the building during the pandemic, using the government furlough scheme, also getting support from staff in taking temporary salary reductions, as well as renegotiating commercial contracts.

Sir Ian said: “We remain confident that Durham cricket and the wider cricket community can emerge from this period stronger and we are hopeful to still be able to welcome our members and supporters to the emirates Riverside for a shortened 2020 season.”

Following publication of the accounts, the club said that it is carrying out a number of measures to mitigate the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said: “The lack of members and supporters at the Emirates Riverside has led to a significant reduction in matchday revenues during the current season but the newly launched Durham Defender scheme allowing members to donate the cost of their 2020 membership for additional benefits in 2021 has had a positive response to date that will mitigate part of this reduction.

“Another area severely hit has been the loss of sponsorship income. We continue to work with all of our commercial partners looking at long term partnerships that will recover the 2020 income reduction over time.

“A cost reduction programme has been undertaken that has allowed additional operational savings to be made whilst cricket was not being played during the current season. “This will be extended to the winter months thereby allowing additional savings prior to the start of the 2021 season.

“We continue to work closely with both the ECB and PCA to help form a fully funded business plan to allow the return of normal operations once government guidelines allow and a full county cricket programme across all ages can be restarted.

“With the continued support of our members, governing body and commercial partners Durham Cricket are projecting to be a in a stable position entering the new season.”

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