Hosting deficits blow Cricket Wellington budget

HAMISH BIDWELL
SPORTS REPORTER
Last updated 05:00 11/09/2012
Pete Clinton
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
FRONTING UP: Cricket Wellington CEO Peter Clinton.

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Cricket Wellington will announce a hefty deficit tomorrow, when they meet the city's club chairmen at the Basin Reserve.

The Dominion Post understands it is in six figures and was caused, say Cricket Wellington (CW) chairman Peter Garty and chief executive Peter Clinton, by some overly optimistic hospitality forecasting.

CW posted an almost $70,000 loss in the previous financial year and have known for more than six months that this year's one would be a lot worse.

Endeavours have been made to lessen its severity, but the pair said it would take two years to fully absorb the impact of the 2011-12 financial result.

Clinton, who succeeded Gavin Larsen as chief executive in December, said the hospitality projections were "set in the last quarter of last year".

"We are over forecast," Clinton said.

"Way over forecast," added Garty.

The setbacks were incurred at the test match between New Zealand and South Africa at the Basin Reserve in March and, to a lesser extent, the Twenty20 and one-day matches the teams played at Westpac Stadium the previous month.

CW expected hospitality marquees to dot the Basin Reserve. Few did, hence the loss.

"[Ticket] sales were poor against budget which was, in the end, unrealistic for the test match as well," said Clinton.

Garty said "it all happened quite quickly" and before they knew it, CW were in a rather large hole. Now every penny is being watched as they try to trim $100,000 from their budget for the next financial year.

"And you'll say ‘why didn't we do that previously?' Well, we were actually moving along quite nicely for several years, and we had good cash flows, and really the whole thing came to a halt a few months back because of the hospitality and that," said Garty.

The challenge now, Clinton said, was to "cut our cloth to fit".

Staff restructures have occurred, with several part-time summer staff not rehired this year.

Those roles have been absorbed by two fulltime employees.

CW remain committed to delivering the $150,000 of trusts funds they promised to six clubs, as part of the new One Club programme. Beyond that, spending will be minimal.

"What we've done this year is set an extremely conservative budget," Clinton said.

Their financial model is also being rebuilt "almost from the ground up", he said.

Previously, CW would have spent almost every dollar it received from sponsors, trusts and New Zealand Cricket by Christmas.

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"So we leave ourselves a very difficult task of recovering from that, given that we don't have a lot of opportunities in the second half of the season unless we have a very good hospitality return and we didn't have that this year," said Clinton.

The idea now is to manage costs "very tightly" and not commit to any spending unless the money was actually there.

Contact Hamish Bidwell
Sports reporter
Email: hamish.bidwell@dompost.co.nz

- © Fairfax NZ News

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