Cricket Australia buoyed by financial strength heading into World Cup year

Cricket Australia (CA) has reported revenue of almost A$300m (€206m/$263.5m) for the 2013-14 season to leave the national governing body in a strong financial position ahead of its co-hosting of the 2015 World Cup.

In its annual report, CA said the A$300m figure is projected to increase to A$360m by the end of its 2014-15 season. At the conclusion of the current four-year cycle, spanning 2013-14 to 2016-17, CA expects revenues of A$736m from the previous four-year period to rise to around A$1.22bn in the current cycle.

The World Cup comes a year on from Australia’s resounding 5-0 win over rivals England in the high-profile Ashes series and CA pointed to the fact that figures for their four-year cycles fluctuate depending on which touring teams play in Australia.

Speaking at the Cricket Australia AGM, chief executive James Sutherland said: “From a fan point of view, last summer’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash, a world-record crowd of 91,112 at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) on Boxing Day, 1.7 million people through the turnstiles to watch cricket over summer and huge average national TV audiences, are measures which all show the Australian public loves cricket.”

Sutherland also highlighted the impressive growth of Australia’s domestic Twenty20 Big Bash League competition and he is confident of staging a successful World Cup on and off the field. “The third season of the Big Bash showed that the competition continued to bring new fans into the game, particularly females and children,” he said. “One in five of the more than 650,000 attendees were at their first cricket game and 24 per cent were kids, compared to Test cricket crowds where nine per cent are children.”

On the World Cup, he added: “I am confident the February-March World Cup, culminating in the March 29 final at the MCG, will be a far bigger event than most Australians expect. Importantly, it will not only offer our players a chance to try to win an unprecedented fifth World Cup, it will also showcase our ability to co-host a major world-class event in front of a global TV audience of one billion fans.”

Cricket Australia has earmarked A$30m to invest into grassroots cricket and other strategic projects nationwide.