Interview with Mark Arthur, CEO, Yorkshire Cricket
2019 was a fantastic year for Cricket in the region, with Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) posting record profits.
But 2020 was always set to be, as the club describes it, a ‘fallow year’ within its five-year cycle, with only two international T20 games to be played at Headingley.
This wasn’t a worry for the club which will staff accordingly and with plans for India to tour in 2021 and Australia in 2023 the club was conscious that the future looked bright. A feeling further boosted by the fact it has it’s potential strongest all-round squad in living memory.
In an exclusive interview with TheBusinessDesk.com, Mark Arthur chief executive of Yorkshire County Cricket Club explained how prior to Coronavirus the club was confident and looking forward to a new season and in particular the launch of a new format – The 100.
Mark believes that the current and largest squad the club has ever had will “be able to challenge in all three formats for Yorkshire cricket” and that the new Northern Superchargers – who will play in The 100 format of the game – is a very competitive team.
In fact the new 100 format of the game he said would be lucrative for the club and is worth approximately £2m this year, contrasting significantly with the County series which is a “loss leader” but crucial in supporting new talent to enter the international ranks and support the next generation of Bairstow, Root and Rashid.
However now with Covid-19’s impact being felt by all avenues of the country what does it mean for the club? Arthur explained how at the time of the interview “the conference and events side of the business as well as sponsorship had fallen off a cliff.”
This isn’t the biggest worry for the club, as he continued: “The real impact for us will be if the T20 Blast season doesn’t start at the end of May, from that moment on it will affect our 100 series, the T20 international matches of England vs Australia and England vs Pakistan both of which sold out before Christmas and it starts to really hurt.”
He added that the YCCC alongside the other first-class counties, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) – the owners of Lords cricket ground, and the English and Welsh Cricket Board were currently looking at financial and business scenarios for if there’s no cricket until the end of May. But the simple answer is for the club it would be a serious challenge,
The CEO however expects that once the situation is all over, there will be a huge “bounce” as people will want to go back to work and go out to sporting events etc after having been in isolation and lockdown.
He concluded, “What is completely unknown is how long it will take and how many entities will survive until that moment when we get back to business as normal and indeed experience the bounce.”
So as with everything related to the Coronavirus there are countless unknowns but once lockdown is lifted I’m certain that Mark and the Club will once again be fighting to put Yorkshire back at the top of the cricketing pole after a number of years of transition within the squad. And although this Editor will still be cheering for Lancashire, I look forward to enjoying first class cricket at Headingley later in the year.