Cricket Business : Future uncertain but England Cricket Board declares bumper financial results

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced a record annual turnover of US$284.7 million at its virtual annual general meeting. The ECB shared an update on its financial results for 2019-2020 with its membership. This was an increase of $70.49million from 2018, which included a men’s tour of India, when it reached a turnover of $216million. It is also considerably higher than an average year which yields approximately $157million turnover according to the statement by ECB

England staging the ICC Cricket World Cup and Ashes series against Australia last summer significantly boosted the coffers, with average annual turnover around US$156.1 million, while an increase in profit has swelled the ECB’s reserves to US$21.3 million, up from US$13.9 million last year.

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However, the inaugural edition of The Hundred, the new 100-ball franchise competition, has been postponed because of coronavirus, while the financial impact of the pandemic could cost the US$474.7 million in a “worst-case scenario”, according to chief executive Tom Harrison, who said the sport was “staring at a $125 million loss this year, whatever happens”.

Confirmation of a three-Test series against the West Indies, now scheduled to start next month, plus positive talks with the countries of other boards due to tour England this summer should limit those losses. Scott Smith, chief financial officer for the ECB, said: “The success of hosting the Cricket World Cup 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.”

Meanwhile, the ECB’s 41 members unanimously voted in favour of Watmore succeeding Colin Graves as chairman to finalise the last stage of the appointment process.The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed that Ian Watmore’s appointment as Chair was ratified at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) which took place virtually today. The ECB’s 41 members voted unanimously in Watmore’s favour. With the last stage of his appointment process concluded, Mr Watmore will step into the role in September 2020. He succeeds current ECB Chair, Colin Graves CBE, following a successful five-year tenure that saw England lift two ODI ICC Cricket World Cups, as well as securing a record £1.1billion media rights deal. In addition to the ratification, it was confirmed that Senior Independent Director, Lord Kamlesh Patel, will step down as the Board’s Senior Independent Director (SID) after serving over five years. A replacement will be identified in the coming months. Lord Patel was involved in a number of significant changes during his term, most notably the creation of the 2018 action plan to engage South Asian audiences, in addition to establishing the ECB’s Governance Committee and being a key voice in the creation of the Inspiring Generations Strategy.

Commenting on today’s news, Colin Graves CBE said: “I am very pleased that Ian’s appointment as Chair has been fully approved by our 41 valued members. His experience and deep passion for cricket will strongly support the progress and cohesion of the game over the next five years. The game’s newest test, the threat of COVID-19, will challenge us all. I am certain that no corner of the game will emerge the same. It will be our ability to stay united and remain agile that will see us through this most difficult of times.’’

Also commenting, Ian 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.”

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