The Lancashire County Cricket Club is planning big for India. Lancashire is considered as one of big financial success story of the England cricket’s county system and now they want to grow their brand in the world’s biggest cricket market. Daniel Gidney, the CEO for the country told Reuters that they will be soon unveiling their India plans.
“We have a big growth plan for India,” said Gidney, who noted the success of the India v Pakistan World Cup game at the venue last summer.
“We want to make Lancashire Cricket the second favourite team for all Indian fans. It is about raising our profile in India and obviously broadcast is a way to do that and we want to launch Lancashire TV and get as much Lancashire cricket content as we can broadcast in the sub-continent. That is very much part of our growth strategy,” he said.
Another way forward for the club would be to sign leading Indian players for the county, although the IPL Twenty20 league has restricted Indian players from playing in T20 competitions abroad, players can still play in first-class cricket in England.
Lancashire held a training tour in Mumbai in February during which Gidney met with Indian business executives along with former India and Lancashire player Farokh Engineer. The tour followed a number of initiatives aimed at welcoming Indian fans to future internationals in Manchester. British fans of Indian heritage are also a part of Gidney’s strategy along with fans of the India team, who travelled in huge numbers for last year’s Pakistan match.
“To start with it is about encouraging people to travel more to watch India play in England, touch wood India are playing at Emirates Old Trafford in both 2021 and 2022. That is a platform.The passion for the game in India is enormous and unrivalled.”
Super Duper Financial Year for Lancashire
On the commercial front, Lancashire had the best ever year with revenues of GBP 34 Mn which is more than some of the international cricket boards. According to the annual financial report for the year ending 31 December 2019 county also had net profit of 5.0 million pounds – both new highs for the organisation.
The figures came despite the Red Rose county spending the past season in the second division and the numbers are linked to their strategy of utilising their Emirates Old Trafford venue for other sources of revenue. With a hotel and conference facilities on-site, operating profits have grown tenfold for the club in the past five years. But with no cricket to be played until July at the earliest, Lancashire, like other counties, will expect a financial hit from the impact of the virus.
“Clearly, these are now tough times as the club navigates its way through the current COVID-19 pandemic, but these results at least help relief that financial burden,” CEO Daniel Gidney told Reuters.
“We are fortunate because of the risks and decisions we took which gave us a sustainable business and will enable us to continue with our ambitions going forward,” he added.
Gidney said the club was continuing with plans for further development of Old Trafford and was also targeting the state school system in a bid to reintroduce the game to youngsters.
“We want to get cricket into a thousand state schools over the next 10 years, across the whole of the North West, that is something that is really important and very close to our hearts,” he said.