County news February 19, 2014

Sussex warn of financial challenges

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sussex have warned of a "very challenging" financial year ahead after reporting a deficit of £630,000 for 2013 and are pinning their hopes on earning a better return from their off-field income.

Despite a visit of the Australians for a three-day tour match, which brought in a profit of over £200,000, and an increase in Twenty20 crowds by 37% the club were hit by the increased costs of staging matches, a high wage bill and no increase in their membership.

The operating loss was £65,000 but the deprecation in value of the club's asset has led to the much higher overall figure.

An ECB loan of £1million will be channelled into improving the marketing and PR side of the club in an aim to turn around membership numbers and make better use of the club's facilities to earn money away from the cricket.

The chairman Jim May said: "There was a lot to be positive about in 2013, especially the strong County championship performance, and there is also plenty to be optimistic about coming into our special year ahead. However, running a profitable first class cricket club is exceedingly challenging. The financial outlook for 2014 is very challenging but we are working extremely hard to improve the position."

In 2006 Sussex received a £10 million bequest from former vice president Spen Cama and has reserves of £1 million in the bank but are reluctant to use that money.

The Argus reported that treasurer Simon Crundwell told members: "Our results are disappointing for a club that has no long term debt, receives in excess of 30% of its income from the ECB and, unlike many of its peers, enjoyed the upside from hosting the Australian tourists."