Lancashire Cricket surplus shrinks despite record annual revenues

Fourth men's Ashes Test march a Emirates Old Trafford

Lancashire Cricket has seen a fall in its annual pre-tax surplus, its latest results for the year to December 31, 2023, show.

This was despite the club generating record revenues of £36.5m, a 25% increase on 2022.

Its surplus before tax was £1.347m, which compares with £2.422m the previous year.

Emirates Old Trafford hosted two major men’s internationals last year, a men’s Ashes Test Match and IT20 against New Zealand, with both matches selling out in advance.

Ticket sales for the Vitality Blast remain strong, while attendances for The Hundred competition continue to grow, with a total of 63,000 tickets issued across the four matches held at Emirates Old Trafford.

The on-site Hilton Garden Inn hotel recorded revenues of £6.5m, while Emirates Old Trafford’s conference and events business continues to grow, contributing £4.1m in revenue. The venue also hosted two sold out nights of the Arctic Monkeys with more than 100,000 in attendance.

The club’s borrowings stand at £32.2m, which includes £8.5m of additional funding required for the 2023 hotel extension.

The 100-bed extension also included a new members’ restaurant and lower tier stand and concourse, that initially opened ahead of the men’s Ashes Test match in July. The additional bedrooms were available from October and immediately saw very encouraging occupancy levels.

It was recently confirmed that Lancashire Cricket was successful in its tender process for a Tier One women’s domestic team. It means the club will now take full ownership of the Lancashire Thunder side that will compete in Tier One T20 and 50-over competitions from 2025, throughout the initial four-season term.

Construction work started at the club’s second ground in Farington in November, delivered by Lancashire County Council in partnership with Lancashire Cricket.

The aim of the venue is to establish a new, year-round facility, which will host a number of men’s and women’s competitive matches each season, as an alternative to Emirates Old Trafford, and also provide a new training base for Lancashire’s men’s and women’s teams, from age-group to first team.

The venue will be open later next year with professional cricket expected to be played at the ground from 2026. The facility will bring community and elite sport together and support the development of community, youth and women’s cricket.

Looking ahead, Emirates Old Trafford hosts a Sri Lanka men’s Test Match in August 2024, followed by an Australia IT20 in September, while the venue also hosts three concerts – with two nights of Foo Fighters and one night of Green Day in June.

Angela Lowes, Chief Financial Officer at Lancashire Cricket, said: “It has been another incredibly busy 12 months for everyone involved with the club. It’s been a tremendous effort from our staff to deliver everything we have done this year and I’d like to place on record my thanks for all their hard work and dedication.

“We were thrilled to open the Hilton Garden Inn extension on time, and on budget this year, as this facility will underpin the club’s long term financial position. I would also like to thank Metro Bank for their continued support this year, particularly regarding funding of the new development.”

She added: “Whilst the men’s Ashes Test was a success, we were heavily impacted by the weather for the last two days. The financial impact of the rain was disappointing given such a strong start and after all the hard work involved to stage the event.

“Securing a women’s team has also been an important step for the club and we look forward to growing and developing Lancashire Thunder, on and off the field, over the coming years. We will continue to reinvest surpluses that we make back into the cricket department.

“Maximising revenues and controlling costs – particularly with the increase in energy bills and major match day staging fees – will be hugely important for us throughout the upcoming year, whilst management of our debt is clearly one of the key priorities. Overall, it’s been a very positive period for the club and we will be looking to build on this performance in 2024.

“Cricket revenue will be lower this year with Emirates Old Trafford hosting a Sri Lanka men’s Test Match, compared to a men’s Ashes Test in 2023. However, we will look to make up for this by focusing on additional commercial opportunities including the hotel, conference and events and the three concerts that we host.”