BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Cricket West Indies is bracing for a huge financial windfall from the ongoing England tour and the upcoming home series against India, as the cashstrapped organisation hopes to make up for a disastrous 2018 when it 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 OneDay 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 2018 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 percent 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 . . . where we probably had the lowest revenue we’ve had for decades; to suddenly be able to jump into this means 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