Lancashire have reported record financial returns in the history of a first-class county for 2019.
Buoyed by a raft of popular international fixtures including an Ashes Test and a World Cup match between India and Pakistan, Lancashire reported earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of £7.6 million; a record figure for a county. That represents a tenfold increase since 2015. They club also reported turnover of £34 million and a net profit of £5 million. Both are club records.
While those returns do not, perhaps, tell the entire story - Surrey, for example, do not report EBITDA - they do tell a tale of a club that were, before the Covid-19 crisis, enjoying a remarkable boom off the pitch at least.
Following the £60 million redevelopment of Emirates Old Trafford, the club made more than £17.5 million from its international fixtures and a further £8.4 million from its conference and events activity. The Hilton Hotel, situated inside the ground, operated by the club and including 95 pitch-facing rooms, saw its average occupancy grow to 78 percent in only its second year of trading.
Lancashire also oversaw an increase in Vitality Blast attendances - ticket sales were up 34 percent compared to 2018 - which included a sold-out Roses match for the sixth year in succession. They also broke their own record attendance for non-Roses matches three times in the campaign.
"To generate in excess of £30 million of non-broadcast revenues is truly remarkable and, to put it in perspective, better than some Premier League Clubs," Lancashire Chief Executive, Daniel Gidney, said. "These results are a record for published accounts, excluding minority interests and legacies, for any first-class county and make this a proud day for the Red Rose. 2019 was a landmark year for the club when years of investment in talent and the infrastructure of Emirates Old Trafford was rewarded and truly reflected in our financial results."
During the year, Lancashire also arranged new long-term banking facilities with Metro Bank. In doing so, they consolidated all their existing debt, significantly extending the repayment profile and reducing the annual interest burden.
For the first time since 2010 - before the stadium re-development - Lancashire returned to a positive reserves balance of £1.7 million. The club also reduced its net current liabilities position in the year from £8.7 million to £489,008.
While such figures are sure to take a huge dent in 2020, the strong returns in 2019 leave Lancashire better placed than many to weather the storm.
"Clearly, these are now tough times as the Club navigates its way through the current COVID-19 pandemic, but these results at least help relieve that financial burden," Gidney continued. "Our priority now is to work with our stakeholders to find a way for cricket to return as quickly as it is safe to do so. This will help us protect future revenues as much as possible and allow us to continue to invest in our infrastructure for the benefit of our members and supporters."