Lancashire have announced a fourth consecutive year of heavy losses, £1.5 million for 2012, as the impact of their ground redevelopment problems, which included lengthy legal battles, continues to be felt.
However, the club are confident that with the Ashes returning to Old Trafford this year, work on the ground nearing the end of the latest stage, and the recent naming agreement with Emirates, that the financial results will show an improvement from next year.
Lee Morgan, the club’s finance director, said: “When we embarked on this journey back in 2007 with the creation of our detailed business plan, we knew we had many obstacles to overcome; however, nobody could have foreseen how high, and how many there were going to be, much of which is well documented.
“Rebuilding nearly an entire stadium on an existing site whilst still trading throughout is fraught with risk and stacked with difficulty, but was absolutely necessary to protect the history, the heritage and most importantly the future of this great venue.”
Lancashire’s figures for 2012 were hit by one of the wettest summers on record, which impacted many counties, with key Friends Life t20 fixtures at Old Trafford being washed out, while the Twenty20 against South Africa was also struck. In comparison to 2011 when they won the CountyChampionship, there was also a shortfall of more than half a million in prize money.
“The loss is again substantial,” chairman Michael Cairns told the Manchester Evening News. “However, as forecasted last year, it is broadly in line with our expectations.
“Over the past four years we have suffered more than our fair share of unanticipated hurdles and costly interruptions to our development project. While this is often the case with multi-faceted construction programmes, it’s reasonable to say that some of our challenges have been far from the norm.
“In addition, the serious fall off in paid attendances in all forms of domestic cricket, and most recently the T20 international, has all impacted significantly on the club’s finances.”
Although Old Trafford will host an Ashes clash this year, Cairns warned that any season when they are not awarded a Test – such as 2015 – will be difficult for the club which has tried to diversify its sources of income with a profitable events business built around The Point development next to the pavilion.
Any year in which we are not allocated one of the major Tests will be a tight financial year, with 2015 being our next challenge in this respect,” Cairns said. “My belief is that an unhealthy number of clubs will be facing extremely difficult financial times, especially if the level of ECB distributions were to be significantly reduced.”