Business Irish

Sunday 26 March 2017

Irish cricket company on a roll after scoring with record €5.9m revenues

Paul Stirling in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup
Paul Stirling in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup

Simon Rowe

Revenue is booming at the company that runs Irish cricket, with income nearing €6m last year.

Irish Cricket Union Limited (ICUL), the governing body for the sport in Ireland, has posted a €2m increase in revenues from €3.8m in 2014 to €5.9m in 2015, according to company accounts.

The cricket body recorded a surplus of €306,227 for the year ended December 31, which represents a significant increase from 2014's surplus of €52,111. Irish cricket's unprecedented success on the field in recent years - including beating Test nations West Indies and Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup - has opened up a host of commercial opportunities off the field.

Cricket Ireland is on a major commercial drive following the launch of its strategic plan for 2016-2020 'Making cricket mainstream'. The ambitious five-year plan aims to transform the sport, with the goal of rivalling the popularity of football, rugby and GAA by 2020.

Ireland's matches are now broadcast globally across five continents on networks such as ESPN, Sky Sports Digital, Fox Sports, Asian TV Network and international channel Irish TV. This broadcasting revenue stream brought in €362,703 for ICUL last year, up from €242,160 in 2014.

Cricket Ireland has also been successful in securing a number of high-profile corporate sponsors, with revenues topping €760,000 last year.

In April, KPC Group - a global conglomerate with interests in India and the USA - was unveiled as team sponsor for the next three years.

Irish sports company O'Neill's has also extended its shirt sponsorship deal for four years.

In addition, Cricket Ireland receives €250,000 per year as part of a 10-year sponsorship and naming rights deal for its cricket academy with Indian conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji Group - the group owned by Ireland's richest family, the Mistrys, who are Irish citizens.

Ireland's jump up the rankings of world cricket helped secure a €2.5m grant last year from the International Cricket Council to help finance development of the game in Ireland.

ICUL also got funding worth close to €1m, with Irish Sports Council contributing €477,394, Sport Northern Ireland contributing €428,774 and Antrim Borough Council granting €16,239. However, membership income dipped slightly to €45,812 from 2014's figure of €48,000.

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