Durham County Cricket Club have confirmed they turned a profit of almost £200,000 during the last financial year, which saw The Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground host a Test match against the West Indies and a One-Day International against Australia.
Both events turned a profit, the ground is due to host an Ashes Test in 2013 and the club has recently signed a six-year sponsorship deal with Emirates Airline, which led to the renaming of the Riverside ground.
“Revenue from international cricket is, in the medium term, essential to all of the Category A venues of which the recently renamed Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground is one. We are now seeing a recurring pattern where even the bigger, major city centre venues are losing between £500,000 and £1,000,000 in years without midsummer Test matches," Durham chief executive David Harker said.
"This situation is only sustainable if clubs are able to retain sufficient income from Test Matches in order to fund the costs of running such major venues in the lean years. Durham, with a commercial debt of £3.5m, does not have the debt levels of many other venues, which for a number of clubs is reportedly between £8m and £19m. I am pleased however that the ECB recognises the problem and that there is currently a lot of work going on within the game to address the issue of major match allocation.”
The Emirates Durham ICG will also host England and Pakistan in an ODI later this year and development of a hotel to the east of the ground also continues.
“We are fortunate that with, for example, the hotel and Gateway Building we have a number of long term income generating opportunities to underpin our cricketing ambitions," Harker added.
Chairman Clive Leach CBE added: “Durham County Cricket Club will continue to seek to invest in its squad, whether through developing young players at the Durham Academy or signing top quality professionals from elsewhere. This policy, working within the confines of the domestic salary cap, supports the club’s determination to compete in all forms of the game. This approach has delivered on field results and it underpins the club’s commitment to its supporters and to the North East sporting community. However, it cannot be sustained without also pursuing other areas of income generating activity.
“Durham CCC is an ambitious club and although we have already achieved many milestones, we must continue to develop our infrastructure and international profile. Improvements such as the media centre, additional seating capacity and the new hotel development will reinforce the ground’s status on the world stage and should help us to secure more profitable international cricket and other major events for Durham. That in turn will allow us to maintain investment in the academy and the squad, so that we can continue to enjoy excellent domestic cricket and teams that consistently challenge for honours.”
© Cricket World 2010