Lancashire County Cricket Club has recorded another strong financial performance after announcing a profit of £258,664 before taxation for 2008. This is up from £184,364 in 2007. However, it should be noted that the 2008 results are based on 12 months, whereas 2007 was a 15-month reporting period.
Despite the global economic crisis, the club has been able to post a solid set of results whilst at the same time continuing to invest heavily in its plans to develop the Stadium and also restructure the cricket department.
After managing down net debt over the last 3 years, investment in the first phase of the Club’s redevelopment has resulted in a change to this position. However, the stable financial base and strong performance of the business over recent years has helped the Club to obtain a significant amount of bank and public sector funding to cover the costs incurred the with the Conference & Events facility, totalling £12million.
Lancashire has also spent in excess of £1million on the new “Gold Marquee” which will help both protect and grow the Club’s non match-day business throughout the build period of the Conference & Events Facility.
Membership revenue fell for the first time in many years, with subscriptions having now reduced to less than 5% of total revenue. Cricket match receipts fell by 17%, in line with expectations. Although the attendance for the Test Match was a record for New Zealand at Old Trafford, the Friday start for the Test had a negative impact on corporate hospitality figures. The anticipated fall in overall Test Match income was exacerbated by some inclement weather affecting the Roses Championship match and the washed out Blackpool Championship fixture against Surrey.
In 2008, the Club’s strong catering business managed to maintain the same level of sales year on year, and occupancy levels of the Old Trafford Lodge remained at 77%, much higher than the competitive market average.
The two pop concerts in 2008, Radiohead and REM, produced a surplus of £246,000 and non match-day car parking continued to make a strong contribution.
2009 will be a challenging year for Lancashire County Cricket Club. The current economic downturn and lack of Test Match cricket means that it will not be possible to sustain strong profitability this year. Further investment will be made towards the ground’s redevelopment, and during periods of construction, revenue from car parking and certain commercial activities will be heavily affected. However, some of this loss will be offset by six concerts being held at the ground during the summer, including five sold out Take That concerts.
Commenting on the results, Lancashire Chief Executive Jim Cumbes said: “In these testing economic times, where hospitality bookings, sales and even membership are difficult to maintain, these results show that the Club has a very strong business model across the board to steer us through these tough years.
“To post a profit in a year when we have spent a sizeable amount of money on Phase 1 of our redevelopment, invested in a new £1million marquee and restructured the cricket department, speaks volume for the forward thinking, hard working Lancashire staff and the ambitions of the Club.
“This current year will be the most challenging for many years, as the Club will continue to invest in the ground’s redevelopment but will have no income from Test Match cricket to draw upon. Having said that, we have forged a reputation for hosting some of the most spectacular and profitable concerts in the UK and earnings from six dates this summer will go a long way to covering expected losses in 2009.
“It’s important to re-emphasise that the club’s redevelopment plans are about securing Test Match cricket at Old Trafford for many decades to come, and our continued investment in cricket at the Club shows that the core aim of our business strategy is to ensure we have the best cricketing set-up possible to achieve our goals.”
© Lancashire CCC