Difficult times for county cricket have been further underlined by the announcement that Surrey, traditionally England’s richest club, have made a pre-tax loss of £502,000 for the 2010 financial year.
In a statement, new Surrey chairman Richard Thompson has blamed last summer’s market conditions and a turnover down £5m on the previous year to £20.5m. But he also says the club are already starting to fight back commercially.
Setting out what is termed a “challenging” set of circumstances, Surrey point to the fact that the England Test match at the Oval started on a Wednesday for the first time, and that ticket sales and hospitality were also adversely affected by England playing their next Test against Pakistan across London at Lord’s during the subsequent week.
Additionally, the football World Cup earlier in the season meant that, in general, attendances – and therefore revenues – for Surrey’s Friends Provident t20 matches were substantially down on the previous year.
Thompson said: “The start to the 2011 year has been one of the strongest for the club ever. For the England v India Test and ODI at the Kia Oval we are tracking above an Ashes series which is un-heard of. We are confident that we’ve put in place measures that will return us to profit.
“2010 was a difficult year across cricket in general, and all sports suffered a downturn in corporate hospitality. We are beginning to see the market improve.”
Surrey’s announcement is the latest in a clutch of big losses for 2010 suffered by counties which include Yorkshire, Lancashire, Kent and Warwickshire.