COUNTIES including Worcestershire are facing a combined loss of £85m in revenue if ‘the very real possibility’ of no cricket this summer becomes a reality, according to a new report.
Financial advisory firm Oakwell Sports claims counties are ‘overly reliant’ on England and Wales Cricket Board grants and warned the current Coronavirus crisis will make a bad situation worse.
Using data provided from 16 of the 18 first-class counties, the report shows Warwickshire receive only six per cent of their total revenue from the ECB, while 53 per cent of Worcestershire’s revenue is derived from cricket’s governing body, behind Leicestershire on 61 per cent.
Oakwell Sports report stated if there is a total cancellation of the season, counties would miss out on income from matchdays, conferences and other events, resulting in a combined revenue loss of £85m.
“Cancellation of the entire English cricketing summer will create significant cashflow problems for smaller first-class counties, but there are more significant impacts to ‘bigger’ counties both in the short and long-term,” the report read.
“Although Test Match venues are less reliant on ECB grant income to remain solvent, they have strong non-cricket business that will be directly impacted by Covid-19.”
The bombshell report was revealed in the week the ECB agreed no professional cricket will be played in England and Wales until at least July 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nine of the 14 rounds of County Championship will be scrapped for 2020 and the Vitality Blast will be pushed as late in the season as possible to give it the best opportunity of being staged. There is serious doubts on whether 50-over Royal London One Day Cup will be played this season with no mention of it by the ECB in their statement.
All matches previously scheduled in June will be moved later in the season with international cricket being moved from July until the end of September, with the West Indies test series being moved from its current slot in June.
It’s not clear whether the four-day game at New Road between the Pears and the tourists, scheduled for May 28, will be rearranged.
The controversial new The Hundred tournament has been scrapped for 12 months after ECB chiefs voted to pull the plug on the competition for 2020.
ECB chief executive officer, Tom Harrison, said: “Our role as a national governing body during a crisis of this scale requires us to carefully plan alongside cricket’s stakeholders and supporters to attempt to overcome COVID-19’s impact on this season.
“As much as we remain hopeful that we can deliver some cricket this summer, we are in the midst of a worldwide crisis and our priority – over and above the playing of professional sport – will be to protect the vulnerable, key workers and society as a whole.
“Our plan is to reschedule international matches as late as possible in the season to give the best chance of play. The Vitality Blast will also now occupy the latest possible season slot to offer as much time as possible to play a county short-form competition.
“I want to thank everyone involved in this complex and sensitive work. There have clearly never been times like this and my colleagues at the ECB and across the game have been exemplary in this period. It has been refreshing, but not surprising, to see how cricket has come together,” he added.