Boom Times for Aussie Cricket

Cricket News - 12/10/02

State Cricket Associations have received record financial distributions over the past 12 months, the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) recently announced.

Figures from the ACB's 2001-02 Annual Report, adopted at today's Annual General Meeting of Board Directors, reveal the States shared in the order of $32 million of funding from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002. The distribution total was an increase of $9 million on the previous financial year, and an 111 per cent rise since 1997-98.

ACB Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland, said the level of distribution and year-end financial results were pleasing outcomes for Australian cricket, given the general downturn in the Australian economy, which affected commercial and sponsorship opportunities.

"Cricket as a business has experienced significant growth in recent years, reflected by its ability to draw large crowds, major sponsors and media partners," Mr Sutherland said.

"That Australian cricket could continue this trend over the past 12 months is pleasing, especially considering the financial challenges it faced following the demise of Ansett Australia, the ACB's naming-rights sponsor for home Test series.

"As a non-profit organisation, the ACB channels all revenues back through the game and the year's strong financial performance has helped the states and territories continue to develop the game from the grassroots through to first-class level," he said.

The ACB generated $70.8 million in total revenue, up $13.6 million from last year.

Other key indicators of cricket's health - match attendance, sponsorship and media rights revenue - were also positive. The 2001-02 season saw more than 890,000 people pass through the gates at international fixtures, up 90,000 from 1997-98 - the last time New Zealand and South Africa travelled to Australian shores.

The signing of new commercial partnerships with Hutchison 3G Australia, Travelex, Qantas Airways and Gatorade highlighted how attractive cricket is as a product.

At the grassroots level, more than 490,000 Australians played organised cricket and close to 500,000 children participated in MILO Cricket development programs.

Non-financial highlights of 2001-02 include:

* Australia claiming and retaining the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test Championship Trophy;
* Australia winning the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup;
* a new strategic plan being adopted;
* Women's Cricket Australia integrating with the ACB; and
* Darwin and Cairns being announced as hosts of international cricket during the Australian winter.

Mr Sutherland said Australian cricket's performance is particularly pleasing given a number of major changes over the past 12 months.

"The ACB has a new Chairman, a new Chief Executive Officer, new headquarters, a new strategic plan and a new one-day international captain following Steve Waugh's outstanding tenure," he said.

"On a broader scale, Australian cricket has lived in an increasingly challenging international environment. Issues of global significance, such as the social and political climate in Zimbabwe and terrorism strikes in Pakistan, impacted heavily on the cricket world and the ACB."

"Nonetheless, in this complex and evolving period the game has built on its solid foundations. The challenge now is to build on this platform by ensuring that Australians continue to show their passion for the game."

Source: ACB

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