The Ashes ‘fuel’ Edgbaston coffers jingle



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Warwickshire CCC releases financial results Image: Warwickshire CCC

The Warwickshire County Cricket Club has reported buoyant annual revenues fueled by last Summer’s Ashes at the Warwickshire CCC home ground – the Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham, England (UK).

‘edgbaston.com’ stated that the turnover at £32.8m was £6.5m higher than 2022 – up 25 per cent – with increases in cricket, catering and hospitality income largely driven by record crowds of 138,000 across the Men’s and Women’s Ashes.

The Warwickshire County Cricket Club is one of 18 first-class county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. It represents the historic county of Warwickshire (UK).

The 25,000-capacity Edgbaston Cricket Ground, also known as the County Ground or the Edgbaston Stadium, is a cricket ground in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham, England (UK). It is home to the Warwickshire County Cricket Club and its T20 team Birmingham Bears.

The Ashes is a Men’s Test cricket series played biennially between England and Australia. The term originated in a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times, immediately after Australia’s 1882 victory at the 27,500-capacity The Oval in London, England, its first Test win on English soil.

The Women’s Ashes is the perpetual trophy in women’s international cricket series between England and Australia. The name derives from the historic precedent of the Ashes in male cricket and, until 2013, was similarly decided exclusively on the outcomes of the Test matches.

‘edgbaston.com’ further stated that however, due to the results spanning a transitional 15-month trading period (from October 1st, 2022 to December 31st, 2023) and cost increases, including the higher energy bills and the Major Match Day (tickets for cricket matches at the Edgbaston Stadium go on sale) staging fees, the club profits fell slightly.

The Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) showed a marginal decrease of £0.4m to £6.1m in 2023, while the club’s retained profit of £1.2m was down from £2.0m in the previous year.

The Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) is a measure of a company’s profitability of the operating business only, thus before any effects of indebtedness, state-mandated payments and costs required to maintain its asset base.

Commented Craig Flindall, Warwickshire’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), “The revenue was substantially higher but so were our costs due to the longer trading period and certain macro-economic factors. Overall, it’s been a very positive period for the club and we’ll be looking to build on this performance in 2024 and beyond. The sales outlook for 2024 is strong. Several days are already sold out, including the first three days of the Men’s West Indies Test, the Men’s IT20 against Pakistan and the Vitality Blast Finals Day, while over 10,000 tickets are sold for the Women’s IT20 versus Pakistan. And the domestic Vitality Blast competition continues to grow alongside The Hundred. In terms of ticketing, we are now cricket’s fastest selling venue outside of London. However, the lower ticket prices for our Major Match Days are expected to mean profits decline in 2024 in line with our long-term financial plan.”

Added Flindall, “We’ve also seen strong performance in the Catering and Events side of the business. Last year saw a total of 680 events staged here with delegate numbers up by more than 13,000. Last year saw our exhibitions figures return to where they were pre-COVID. And the club has made good progress on the Edgbaston Stadium’s Masterplan with the new entrance Plaza and Skyline West hospitality area completed on budget and on schedule. The next phase of the development works includes the rebuilding of the Raglan and Priory Stands with an integrated hotel. The funding for part of the project was recently secured in principle from the West Midlands Combined Authority and we’ll be briefing the members and the stakeholders throughout the year.”

The T20 Blast, currently named the Vitality Blast for sponsorship reasons, is a professional Twenty20 cricket competition for English and Welsh first-class counties. The competition was established by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2003. It is the top-level Twenty20 competition in England and Wales.

The Hundred is a 100-ball cricket tournament involving teams in major Cities across England and Wales run by the England and Wales Cricket Board (the national governing body of cricket in England and Wales) which took place for the first time in 2021. The format was invented with the expectation that each match would last around two-and-a-half hours.

The Edgbaston Stadium’s Masterplan has also progressed with the opening of the neighboring Corkfield complex – featuring 375 luxury apartments – and Xcelerate with Edgbaston, a joint venture between the club and its catering partner Compass.

The Compass Group plc is a British multinational contract foodservice company headquartered in Chertsey, England (UK). It is the largest contract foodservice company in Europe, ahead of Sodexo, employing over 500,000 people.

Xcelerate with Edgbaston is a new catering and hospitality center of excellence that offers apprenticeships, career development and skills training for people wanting to work in the sector, including jobs at the stadium.

Stated Stuart Cain, Chief Executive, Warwickshire County Cricket Club, “This solid financial foundation has allowed us to invest in the Warwickshire squad for 2024. We’ve made some fantastic signings, including the England bowlers Richard Gleeson and George Garton, and the squad is now one of the most exciting I’ve seen here in my tenure. We are looking forward to our Major Match Day schedule this year, with England’s men taking on the West Indies in a Test and Pakistan in an IT20, and England’s Women also facing Pakistan in what promises to be a great occasion. Hopefully, it will help inspire more women and girls to pick up a bat and ball. And we’ve also made excellent progress on our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pledges which form our Edgbaston for Everyone plan. We want to make Edgbaston a hub for the local community, providing opportunities for the people to celebrate the region’s cultural diversity, as well as improve their employment opportunities.”

Added Cain, “Last year, we hosted our inaugural Vaisakhi Cricket Cup, staged celebrations for Christmas and Easter, organized the country’s first lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ)+ first cricket tournament, and brought together an all women grounds staff to prepare an international wicket at the Edgbaston Stadium. Our education project in association with the Sandwell College is also thriving with increasing numbers of 16 to 18-year-olds gaining sports science and coaching qualifications from classrooms here at our Indoor Centre. And we’ve taken a lead on sustainability in cricket by staging our first Go Green Game for last year’s IT20 against New Zealand. The Green changes we trialed for that game cut our matchday carbon emissions by a third. We’ll learn from that and do even more.”

Click here to read the Club’s Annual Report which includes a breakdown of its financial performance and an update on the club’s electronic data interchange (EDI) work.

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