PEARS chairman Fanos Hira has cast doubt on the ECB’s claims of a seven-figure cash boost for counties such as Worcestershire from the controversial introduction of The Hundred, English cricket’s newest competition.
Clubs who missed out being a host ground for one of the eight new franchises for the tournament, such as Worcestershire, were told by the ECB they could expect additional income of £1.3million a year via the competition which has been shoe-horned into to an already congested calendar.
But in his annual report to members, the Pears boss said the new tournament will not determine financial success for cricket as it has been portrayed, but will be merely a possible contributor.
“The justification often mentioned when discussing the impact of the new Hundred competition is the additional income of £1.3million per year between 2020 and 24 which all first class counties like ours are guaranteed to receive,” he said.
“The economics of The Hundred over this period will not support these levels of payments; it is unlikely to generate enough to pay each county £1.3million.
“Therefore cross-subsidisation is occurring through other income streams secured by the ECB, of which other TV rights accounts for 86 per cent of revenues. My calculations indicate approximately 40 per cent of these additional payments to counties are from other ECB income.”
While praising the team for its performance in one-day cricket and the Vitality Blast, the top man at New Road criticised the team’s Championship form and said it could be argued the club had faced a large challenge in four day cricket for a long time.
“In 2015 we were relegated from Division One, in 2016 we did not get promoted. In 2017 due to a strong finish to the campaign we were promoted,” said Hira.
“Just as the table in 2018 when we got relegated didn’t lie, neither does the table in 2019 when we finished a disappointing ninth [in Division Two]. In the last five years we have won only 23 out of 74 games.”
Speaking on the day the club confirmed its first Championship home game of the summer would be played at Kidderminster to allow more time to tend to the flood-stricken New Road, Hira estimated this winter’s flooding would cost the club between £60,000 and £70,000.
“New flood policy procedures implemented in November 2019 reduced our exposure. It is important to differentiate between floods that occur during the season and during the off-season,” he said.
“In 2020 we will invite families impacted by flooding to our ground for free, for either a red ball or white ball game to watch glorious cricket – hopefully with the sun shining.”
The first home game against Sussex, due to start on April 25, will now be played at Kidderminster’s Chester Road ground.