Celebrating our clients: Kent Cricket
Cricket is much more than a game – it is at the heart of our communities, and no more so than in Kent. Whether on the school field, the village green or at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in Canterbury, Kent Cricket is a driving force both on and off the field.
Kent Cricket’s Chief Executive Officer Simon Storey and Director of Partnerships Andy Griffiths tell Kreston Reeves just how important the business community is in keeping the game alive.
For many, Kent Cricket is captured by the performance of its elite teams – the Men’s team were crowned 2021 T20 Vitality Blast champions and the Women’s team claiming the London Championship trophy – but its reach extends deeper into and beyond the county than many realise.
Kent Cricket has over 300 grassroots clubs, works with more than 200 schools, playing at first-class facilities in Beckenham, Tunbridge Wells and, of course, the impressive Spitfire Ground in Canterbury. Its work also includes school and community programmes across the county which extends into the four Kent metropolitan London Boroughs of Bromley, Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham.
“We want to put a smile on the faces of the people of Kent through high quality cricket that is accessible to everyone,” says Kent Cricket’s Chief Executive Officer Simon Storey. “As well as competing at the highest level, we are focused on growing the number of people who are playing, watching or following cricket at every level of the game. More broadly, we use the power of cricket as a force for good that goes beyond the boundary.”
Kent Cricket is a not-for-profit organisation, drawing revenue from a wide range of sources, including Sport England, television and broadcast rights, sponsorships, hospitality, business partnerships, and funding streams to support its community and schools’ programmes.
It is a business with “twin propellers”, explains Simon, with a physiotherapy clinic and healthcare business working alongside its conference and events arm to support investment in cricket. Combined these commercial activities generate revenues approaching £1.6m that are essential in supporting its work.
Unlike many businesses, commercial success of the Club can also be directly impacted by the performance of its elite teams.
“The barometer of success of any professional sports team is on the field,” says Simon. “The burgers and hotdogs always taste better after a win. It brings greater media coverage with more people wanting to come and watch the game. It creates heroes, inspiring kids to pick up a bat and ball.”
The COVID pandemic hit sport particularly hard, with professional matches played behind closed doors and with school and community matches stopped for months at a time.
“We are no different from any other business, and the health, safety and welfare of our people is paramount,” explains Simon. “The entire 2020 season was played behind closed doors and in 2021 we were able to allow only limited crowds in line with government guidelines. Yet from a players’ perspective, it was incredibly difficult to go out and play cricket to an empty stadium.
“They will all tell you that and they love being able to go out and show what they can do to the best of their ability and win a trophy in front of a packed ground. It was an extremely special occasion when fans were able to come back. And none more so than playing in front of a capacity crowd at Edgbaston at Vitality Blast Finals Day.”
Kent Cricket invested in sophisticated broadcast technology allowing the Club to live-stream games during the various lockdowns and restrictions, attracting four times as many viewers as would be possible in the stadium. It set the groundwork for an encouraging return when restrictions were lifted.
As the Kent Cricket looks to the future, the Director of Partnerships role was created to bring to bring together the Club’s partners across the community and the elite game, and leverage the sense that people wanted to get behind cricket at all levels.
Shaping the future of Kent Cricket
“There is an increased value in relationships and community,” explains Andy Griffiths, Kent Cricket’s Director of Partnerships, “and businesses and our commercial partners are coming back in a way that is different. The demand for hospitality is greater than expected and so too is the desire to network with other commercial partners.
“But at the same time, there is a real passion to contribute towards social responsibility and community. That for me is very exciting. We are looking to build on our relationships and partnerships with businesses that benefits everyone.”
Just as the game continues to reinvent itself with new formats attracting new and younger fans, so too is Kent Cricket. Trophies for the women’s team and the seniors, pop up clubs in schools, street cricket, increased investment in the Medway towns, Gravesend and the metropolitan boroughs, and the Kent Cricket Community Trust are all parts of Kent Cricket’s approach as a force for good.
“There is an opportunity for us to extend our reach over the next five to 10 years,” says Simon, “and our business partners are a key part of that programme. Together we are a force for good.”
Kreston Reeves has worked closely with Kent Cricket for over 10 years, playing a key role in the tax and financial aspects of the redevelopment of the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in Canterbury. The firm also supports the Club as Team Kent Partners and regularly utilise the Club’s facilities to entertain clients on home and away match days.
Simon said: “Kreston Reeves do more than just help us with our accounts, audit and taxation needs – they have a deep understanding of the not-for-profit space are deeply interested in our plans, where we want to get to in the future and help us on our way there. They are an integral part of our team and a valued partner and adviser.”
Learn more about Kent Cricket here.
This year Kreston Reeves is celebrating 200 years of history. We are using the significant milestone as an opportunity to celebrate our clients, our colleagues, and our communities! Find out more.
"Kreston Reeves do more than just help us with our accounts, audit and taxation needs – they have a deep understanding of the not-for-profit space are deeply interested in our plans, where we want to get to in the future and help us on our way there. They are an integral part of our team and a valued partner and adviser."
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