Yorkshire financial director Charles Hartwell has predicted a bright future for the county despite announcing a loss of £460,000 for the financial year of 2011.
It may be the second successive deficit for the county, but £460,000 is a far cry from the £1.8 million recorded in 2010.
And, with the hosting of international cricket inked in until at least the summer of 2019 under Headingley’s staging agreement with the ECB, profitable times are almost certainly just around the corner.
“I think it’s a good financial result bearing in mind that we didn’t have a Test match in 2011,” said Hartwell.
“The loss that we’ve reported is completely consistent with expectations for the year. That means all our revenue budgets have been met and all of our expenditure expectations for the year have been met as well.”
The club will also confirm to members a generated turnover of £5.4 million for 2011 at their annual general meeting on Saturday, March 24.
The loss was largely due to the lack of a Test match last summer, although England will host South Africa from August 2 to 6 this year in the midst of a series billed as a battle to be the world’s number one Test team.
Days two and three of Jacques Rudolph’s Headingley return are already heading for a sell-out, while England will play the West Indies on June 22 in a one-day international.
Hartwell added: “The way the club is financed means the business model is dependent on having a full international schedule every year, and by that I mean a Test match and a one-day international. The debt structure of the club is such that we have invested in improving facilities in order to retain international cricket. Therefore, international cricket is what generates the profit to pay down the debt.”
As well as having that full international schedule this coming summer, the signs are also good concerning the popularity of county cricket.
The club are looking to capitalise on each of their home Clydesdale Bank 40 fixtures being played on a Sunday, while they are also expected to make the purchasing of Twenty20 tickets a more attractive proposition.
“The encouraging sign in 2011 was that we had more people through the gate than we were expecting,” revealed Hartwell.
“Obviously the ODI (Sri Lanka) was a sell-out, and the Lancashire Twenty20 match had over 12,000 attend. Also Scarborough continues to be very popular.”
Hartwell also said that County Championship relegation will almost certainly not impact on the club’s financial situation.
He added: “To finish the year on expectation, to have Jason Gillespie here, I think there is a real feel good factor at the club at present. It stems from everybody. There seems to be a sole purpose to show Headingley off as a fantastic place to come and watch cricket.”