England’s Test tour of the region might have ended in on-field controversy. But just ahead of the start of the One-Day Internationals, regional cricket administrators are projecting huge financial returns from the tour.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) is not only bracing for a huge financial windfall from the ongoing England tour but also from the upcoming home series against India as well. The cash-strapped organisation hopes to make up for a difficult 2018 when they lost an estimated US$20 million.
According to chief executive, Johnny Grave, CWI is expected to rake in about US$20 million this year, allowing the governing body to at least break even, and more importantly continue to fund its extensive age group programmes.
England concluded their three-Test series against West Indies earlier this week and will now turn their attention to the limited overs phase, which comprises five One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20s.
The tour is England’s first full one of the Caribbean in a decade and with world number one-ranked India scheduled to play two Tests, three ODIs and three T20s between July and August, Grave said 2019 would be “massive” for CWI’s revenues.
“It (England tour) is always important but this year more than ever because of the fact last year was such a bad year for us financially,” Grave said.
“Playing Sri Lanka at home and Bangladesh at home, the contract that we have with our TV crew … probably 50 per cent of our revenue comes from TV, and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are the worst value within that deal. So to have got through last year … was tough.”
He continued: “Last year was financially horrible and therefore this year with England and India coming after the World Cup, will be a record year for the West Indies.
“England is always important but certainly after the 2018 season we had where we probably had the lowest revenue we’ve had for decades, to suddenly be able to jump into this means that we’ll come out the end of this year with a kind of par score which is good from a business point of view.”
In recent years, England have undertaken single format tours of the Caribbean. In 2017, they played only ODIs, in 2015 they travelled for a three-Test series only, while the 2014 tour comprised ODIs and T20s.
The ongoing tour began with a near sold-out opening Test at Kensington Oval here on January 23 and wraps on March 10 with the final T20I in St Kitts, marking six weeks of high profile cricket for the Caribbean.
“This year is massive. To have an England tour of this size looking ahead for the next five years is unprecedented,” Grave explained.
“To get them in all three formats … three Tests, five One-Day Internationals and three T20s, then to have the World Cup in England where we’ve obviously won twice, and then to host India at home and be the first game we’re playing in this new Test championship … it’s a massive amount of cricket for us.
“It’s a big year of cricket, big year financially and by the end of it we’ll be back on an even keel and looking ahead to the next phase which is a new ODI league, new Test championship and for us a new TV deal.”
But the Englishman also struck a note of caution, warning that CWI also needed to exercise prudence going forward, especially with the commercial structure heavily reliant on high profile home tours.
“It is important we make massive profits this year because of the losses last year so whilst there is lots of money flowing from this England tour and lots more to come against India, we’ve got to run a really conservative year to make sure we can repay the debt from last year,” he noted.
“We don’t sit on massive reserves which from a business planning point of view, is not ideal. We do want to grow reserves to help manage the peaks and troughs because we don’t really control England, India and when those tours come so you want to be able to ride those bumps in revenue.”