Yorkshire County Cricket Club could lose out on more than £10 million in commercial revenue due to the fallout from their handling of the Azeem Rafiq racism report.
The White Rose club has come in for fierce criticism after a report found former captain Rafiq was subjected to racist abuse, but nobody was handed any punishment and the language was dismissed as “friendly banter”.
It has led to severe punishments being dished out.
Not only has this damaged the club’s reputation, but the financial implications are massive.
The club’s latest set of company accounts reveal the devastating impact the lack of sponsorship and international cricket could have.
In 2019, Yorkshire CCC earned the majority of its money – almost £10.5 million – from international ticket sales and hospitality revenue.
Looking ahead, the loss of this main revenue stream could have a huge impact.
Yorkshire were due to host a four-day Test match against New Zealand in June 2022 and a one-day international against South Africa a month later. In 2023, Australia were due to visit Headingley for a Test match.
All three matches are now in jeopardy, which could leave a huge black hole for Yorkshire to fill.
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Another big loss for Yorkshire could be a lack of sponsorship, which earned the club £3 million in 2019.
Emerald Group Publishing have said they no longer want their name associated with the stadium.
Kit manufacturer Nike, shirt sponsors Anchor Butter, Harrogate Spring Water and Yorkshire Tea are also among those to have confirmed they are cutting ties with Yorkshire.
It remains to be seen whether other commercial avenues could be affected, but domestic ticket sales and hospitality revenue (£1.1 million) and subscriptions (£0.8 million) could both dip in the coming months too.
Speaking to PA, Jon Long, a former head of strategy at the International Cricket Council and now a strategic consultant at marketing and sponsorship company Onside, said: “Yorkshire generates more money from sponsorship than a county like Essex or Kent, and the hosting of those international matches is the biggest differential,” Long said.
“If you look at the revenue of the likes of Yorkshire, Lancashire, etc it’s more than double some of the smaller counties.
“The main driver of that is the hosting of those international matches, and the ticket sales and all the things that go around that.
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“There’s no doubt there are indirect benefits, including naming rights. That would be the biggest of those – you think about Emirates Old Trafford and the Kia Oval.
“You take away the exposure that those venues get around the international matches and it certainly diminishes the value of those sponsorships.”
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