An Ashes summer and a £1M ($1.5M) windfall from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) "should help the 18 first-class counties to bounce back from one of the toughest trading years in recent memory," according to Paul Bolton of the London TELEGRAPH. The wettest summer in a century combined with the counter-attraction of the London Olympic Games meant that "attendances fell across the country and produced some eye-watering losses last year." Warwickshire lost more than £600,000 ($918,000) as a result of having four of the seven days of int'l cricket at Edgbaston washed out. Middlesex, who lost £519,000 ($795,000), blamed a £121,000 ($185,000) reduction in gate receipts "on the poor weather and the impact of the Olympics." However, the profile of cricket "will rise during an Ashes summer and will directly benefit four counties" -- Somerset, Worcestershire, Sussex and Northamptonshire -- who can each "expect a six-figure financial windfall from hosting matches against Australia." The ECB, though, is "keen for counties to diversify their business interests." The ECB has made £1M available to each county, "which must be spent on capital projects rather and not squandered on players’ wages." ECB Professional Cricket Managing Dir Gordon Hollins said, “We asked the counties to show us what they would do with £1 million over the next five years to make sure that their plans are aligned with our strategic priorities” (TELEGRAPH, 4/8).
Gloucestershire County Cricket Club made a trading surplus of £108,000 ($165,000) during the financial year ending Jan.y 31 "despite enduring the wettest summer in living memory," according to Andy Stockhausen of the Bristol POST. The club made a record profit of £2.9M ($4.4M) but £2.8M ($4.2M) of this "took the form of a payment from Linden Homes for the lease of part of the County Ground in Bristol." Gloucestershire’s trading surplus is its biggest since '07, and suggests the club is "at long last ready to return to long-term profitability after years of struggle." A major project to redevelop Gloucestershire’s Nevil Road headquarters "is already under way and a new and enlarged pavilion is due to open in July this year" (POST, 4/8). ESPNCRICINFO.com reported the club's financial performance was "still very good" even without "that significant income." The poor weather "reduced gate receipts" by £57,000 ($87,000) and membership by £30,000 ($45,000) although it was "aided by a one-off" £200,000 ($306,000) grant from the ECB (ESPNCRICINFO.com, 4/8).
The South African Rugby Union "has reported modest pre-tax profits" of 6.2M rand ($675,300) for the year ended Dec. 31, according to Nick Said of REUTERS. Group revenue rose 15% to $75M from $65M, "due mainly to an increase in income from broadcasting rights, sponsorships and home tests," which were typically depressed in the 2011 Rugby World Cup year. That rise "was offset by group operating expenditure," which increased by 20%, "largely due to costs associated with the hosting of the test at FNB Stadium" and the Int'l Rugby Board Junior World Cup (REUTERS, 4/5).