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SBD Global/August 9, 2013/Events and Attractions

Northeast England Reaping Financial Benefits From Hosting Ashes Test Cricket

Northeast England is "making the most of its new place" on the int'l cricket map, according to Chris Tighe of the FINANCIAL TIMES.  Friday "sees the start of the most northerly Test match in the history of the Ashes, with five days of play scheduled for Durham County Cricket Club’s scenic ground beside the River Wear in Chester le Street." Staging an England-Australia test for the first time is "a fillip for the local economy, which has suffered in the downturn, with hotels, pubs, visitor attractions and traders hoping to share in an estimated £20M ($31M) injection into the region." Durham County Cricket Club’s payroll has "temporarily swelled from 70 full-time equivalents to nearly 600." Local business and political leaders have "rallied behind the event." The North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Durham county council each "offered the cricket club up to £2.8M ($4.4M) of loan finance to help expand its ground." It has used £1.2M ($1.9M) to add 5,000 permanent seats, "bringing seating capacity up to 17,500." The match, "nearly sold out" at £80 ($124) a seat, will be "financially positive for the club but the wider economics of hosting international cricket are tough: it has relinquished staging rights for two shorter international events in 2014 and 2015 because of concerns over their financial viability" (FT, 8/8).
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