by Rachael Woods
A Sugababes concert that flopped at Kent County Cricket Club’s ground left a sour note, as the club’s accountants totted up the balance sheet for 2009 and announced substantial overall losses of £802,452.
Dismal attendances at the heavily-promoted Canterbury concert, which took place on June 26 last year, together with a smaller-than-expected crowd at the James Morrison concert the following day, resulted in a combined concert deficit of more than £190,000.
In his report on Kent County Cricket Club’s 2009 financial results, honorary treasurer Simon Philip said: “The two concerts incurred losses of over £190,000, which was an acute disappointment, given that our budget was predicted on very significant returns.”
Mr Philip also cited delays over the redevelopment scheme for the ground and difficult trading conditions as being central to the bleak state of the club’s finances.
The club had hoped to sell 9,000 tickets for the Sugababes show, but sold less than half that amount with just 4,000 tickets purchased. The James Morrison concert attracted a crowd of 8,000 with sales again being predicted at 9,000.
Commenting on the concert losses, Kent’s chairman George Kennedy said: “The budget was submitted saying we would make a very substantial profit. That was accepted, and we assumed it was going to happen, it was only nearer the time when we were nowhere near our targets that I started to get very concerned.”
He added: “There was a lack of appetite for a concert in Canterbury, we advertised it widely in newspapers and radio,and simply didn’t get the support we had hoped for.”
Mr Kennedy conceded that the organisation of the concerts had not gone to plan, compared to the success of the Elton John concert in June 2006.
He said: “The difference was that when Elton John was here, his people hired the ground and paid us a fee. We took the management of the Sugababes and James Morrison concerts on ourselves, and appointed various agencies to do the staging and that type of thing.”
He admitted: “It simply didn’t work, and we won’t be doing it again.”
Kent County Cricket Club is on schedule to sign a deal with a yet to be named developer for a new hotel at the St Lawrence Ground, before the club’s annual meeting on Monday, March 29.