Warwickshire County Cricket Club have announced a retained loss of £2.4million for the year ending September 30, 2013.
The Bears recorded a small operating profit of £4,500 but have again taken a big hit overall, recording a retained loss in excess of £2million for the second successive year.
The huge deficit was due largely to a £1.7 million loss on the sale of a parcel of land and depreciation on the new pavilion at Edgbaston.
Bleak figures were predicted for a year during which the stadium did not host a Test match and they serve only to re-emphasise the club’s massive reliance on its huge loan from Birmingham City Council.
Warwickshire’s turnover increased by more than £200,000 despite missing out on hosting an Ashes Test, but sponsorship and commercial revenue fell by £500,000 and ECB funding by £400,000.
The Bears expect their losses to “reduce significantly” in 2014 and 2015. They will be aiming to start properly turning the financial corner in the second of those years when Test cricket returns to Birmingham as Edgbaston hosts an Ashes Test.
Treasurer Stephen Mills warned that the club’s long-term welfare will hinge heavily on how many blue riband games it continues to attract, first up from the next Major Match allocation package.
“We need to deliver again in 2014 securing an attractive package of Major Matches from the ECB for the period 2017 –2019 to materially underpin our longer-term plans,” Mills said.
Finance director Craig Flindall and chief executive Colin Povey believe the club will continue to meet the challenges that lie ahead. But Flindall did not gloss over the fact that the Bears face a financial battle for years to come.
“The significant depreciation charge will be a feature of our financial results for the foreseeable future,” he said. “But the loss of sale of land in the last year needs to be seen in the context of the profits on disposal of land in prior years.
“Both items are non-cash transactions and should not overshadow the good progress that has been made to improve operating performance.
“The 2013 financial year was the first in which the club operated according to its new strategic plan which maps out our main targets until the end of 2016. This plan has the support of both the ECB and our main funding partner Birmingham City Council.
“The achievement of several objectives within the plan helped to deliver the improved financial results over the last 12 months.
"Whilst Major Match Day revenues cannot be compared with 2012 because of the ticket revenue model adopted during the ICC Champions Trophy, the tournament enabled the club to increase catering and hospitality revenues by 22 per cent.
“The attractive fixture list and spell of good weather during the domestic T20 window in July also helped grow cricket revenues by eight per cent.
“The 2013 season also saw Warwickshire return to the top of the rankings for ECB Performance Related Fee Payments which counties receive for producing England players. The club has been in the top two of this category for the last four years.”
Povey admitted that this year, when India’s lucrative Test series in England will by-pass Birmingham, will be another testing one for Warwickshire off the field.
“The absence of Test cricket once again in 2014 represents a further challenge before the return of an Ashes Test to Edgbaston in 2015,” he said. “However, hosting India on two occasions in 2014 and the changes to domestic Twenty20 cricket schedule, featuring more Friday-night games, are great opportunities that we are looking to make the most of.
“The club has made good progress on many of the objectives set within our strategic plan and the way in which we delivered the ICC Champions Trophy matches made a lasting impression on all major stakeholders.”