Hosting the Twenty20 World Cup last year has gone some way to balancing the books at Cricket Australia, after the organisation announced it recorded a $16.9m loss in 2022-23.
The governing body said the loss was driven by an “expected low point in the revenue cycle” given it was a non-Ashes year, although the game set a new attendance record last summer.
The Cricket Australia chair, Mike Baird, on Thursday flagged there may be more economic headwinds in the future. “Cricket has reached an important moment with the continued emergence of franchise cricket creating both significant challenges and enormous opportunities as interest in our sport grows,” he said.
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The international calendar is being squeezed by domestic T20 competitions in India, North America, the Middle East and Africa, challenging Cricket Australia’s influence in the game.
“As a global leader, we believe Cricket Australia is well placed to play a strong role in shaping the future of cricket including fulfilling our commitment to the primacy of Test cricket and maximising the benefits of our status as an Olympic sport to broaden the game’s horizons,” Baird said.
The International Olympic Committee announced this month cricket would become an Olympic sport at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.
The Cricket Australia annual report said 2.4 million people attended cricket matches in Australia over the year to June, setting a new record. The men’s Twenty20 World Cup tournament – won by England in the final at the MCG last November – helped increase Cricket Australia revenue by 9% to $427m.
The overall profit of the tournament was listed at $42.5m, and “helped offset the reduction in media rights and match income in a non-Ashes year, an increase in player payments strategic investment investment in the BBL and higher travel costs post-Covid-19”, the annual report stated.
The $16.9m loss is the third-highest in the past decade, trailing 2016-17’s $52m and $43m in 2019-20.
Cricket Australia chief executive, Nick Hockley, said it was a landmark year “during which we secured the foundations of the game and put cricket in a position to seize on the enormous opportunities ahead”.
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The broadcast deal with Foxtel and Channel Seven signed this year is worth $1.5bn over seven years, and another agreement with Disney Star beams Australian cricket into India.
A new five-year deal with players was struck in April that gives professional women a share in $133m, an increase from $80m in the previous agreement. Hockley said it “caters for changing dynamics in the global game also provides confidence and certainty across Australian cricket”.
Participation rose from 599,000 to 628,000 in the past year, though there was a small decrease in children 11 years old and younger playing junior cricket, “largely the result of the closure of entry-level programs during Covid – emphasises our challenge to increase the number of kids playing cricket,” the report stated.