Annual Report 2016-17
The annual report of Cricket Australia for the 2016-17 financial year.
It is my pleasure to present this annual report as Chairman of Cricket Australia.
First, I wish to thank all directors for their outstanding contribution to cricket over the past 12 months. Our board has enjoyed a stable year, as we welcomed Michael Kasprowicz back to the table last December.
Rarely, I believe, has one year demonstrated the variables of sport, and the giant strides that can be made when an organisation’s focus is on the long-term health of the game.
Just a week after last year’s Annual General Meeting, the men’s team travelled to Perth, for the first of three Tests against South Africa. Within two and a half weeks we had been humbled there and in Hobart, triggering a significant review of our selection policies following the resignation of Rod Marsh as chairman of selectors.
Swiftly, we saw an unprecedented (recent) interest in the Sheffield Shield, that marvellous response from the new team in Adelaide, a 3-0 series win over Pakistan, and then the supposedly unachievable, our first Test win in India since 2004.
Whilst it was disappointing that the team could not win or draw the series, our recent 1-all Test series in Bangladesh simply highlighted the challenge that our High Performance team, and the selectors, have in developing and deploying a squad that has the resilience and adaptability to win in all conditions. That applies to all formats, as the men’s team endured a rain-affected and unsuccessful campaign in England mid-year for the 50-over ICC Champions Trophy.
May I take this opportunity to pay tribute to Rod Marsh. He is one of our greatest ever cricketers, and, as I said at the time of his resignation, he has always put the interests of cricket at the forefront of every decision he makes.
There were a number of significant player retirement during the past year:
Sarah Coyte played four Tests (Baggy Green cap number 159), 47 T20I matches and 30 One-Day Internationals for Australia.
Adam Voges (cap #442) played 20 Tests for Australia, with an average of 61.87, along with 31 ODIs and seven T20Is.
Xavier Doherty (cap #417) played four Tests, 60 ODIs and 11 T20Is.
Shaun Tait (cap #392) played three Tests, 35 ODIs and 21 T20Is.
John Hastings played one Test (cap #430), 29 ODIs and nine T20Is.
David Hussey played 69 ODIs and 39 T20Is for Australia.
Each will be honoured at a match during the coming season.
Sadly, we must also mark the deaths of three great servants of Australian cricket.
Joyce Dalton was once described as the Bradman of women’s cricket. She played three Tests for Australia (cap #47) and was captain of New South Wales. She passed away last December at the age of 83.
Lou Rowan was one of our leading umpires in the 1960s, officiating in 25 Tests between 1963 and 1971, as well as the inaugural one-day international. He died in February at the age of 91.
And just recently we farewelled Bob “Dutchy” Holland. He played 11 Tests (cap #326) and two ODIs for Australia, and was a stalwart of cricket at every level throughout his life. He was 70.
Returning to today’s Australian representatives, on the women’s side our national team successfully defended the Rose Bowl in home and away contests against New Zealand, and enjoyed a 4-0 series win at home over South Africa in five ODIs. They then set themselves for the pinnacle event of the sport, the World Cup, also in the UK. Despite excellent lead-up results and preparation, they were defeated in the semi-finals.
It all proved, yet again, that nothing in sport is predictable, good form is just a well-hit cover drive away, but coping with pressure at critical junctures remains a vital ingredient for success. That is already on display again, as our women battle with England for the Ashes, and the men will contest the same prize from next month.
As an aside to the women’s World Cup, CA was honoured to host representatives from our past winning teams – all six of them – in June. We were there to ensure that every past player now has a winner’s medallion, courtesy of the ICC.
It was an outstanding celebration of our pioneering women, and we were also able to announce, to applause, that we will now refer to our men’s and women’s team in the same manner (the Australian men’s Test team, the Australian women’s Test team). The Southern Stars remains as a nickname, but it is not their formal title. This was an important decision by the Board, to ensure that gender equity is at the heart of our organisation.
This was never more important than in the completion of a new Memorandum of Understanding with our professional players. While the way in which the negotiation was played out on the public arena was disappointing, the outcome reflects sensible compromise by both parties.
The facts are that both CA and the Australian Cricketers’ Association were in total agreement that our male players would remain among the best paid sportsmen in the country. Most importantly, our women are now covered by the agreement, their income has been more than doubled, and cricket is the leading sport in Australia for gender equity when it comes to pay.
Cricket now offers the opportunity for a full-time, professional sporting career for our women players at both the domestic and international level.
This is a fantastic achievement, and everyone involved should be congratulated.
Equally, the agreement provides the opportunity for a significant investment in grassroots cricket. This is vital for the ongoing health of our game. It is the responsibility of all of us – CA and the states and territory associations – to look honestly at the support we provide our clubs and associations, and ensure they have the resources, and the facilities, to keep cricket vibrant. This means, in particular, providing a great experience for children when they come to us to play cricket.
That is what I meant when I spoke earlier of an organisation maintaining a clear focus on the future. It is of great credit to our CEO, James Sutherland, his executive team and all the staff that – in a year which featured all the elite cricket I have mentioned, to say nothing of another hugely successful summer of Big Bash - they completed a new MOU, trialled new junior formats that will transform the experience for children, launched our Growing Cricket for Girls Fund which created more than 300 new all-girls’ teams, finished the first-ever comprehensive audit of nationwide facilities by any sport, continued the significant improvements of the One Team project, and, after 12 months of outstanding collaboration right across Australian cricket, developed and launched an exciting new five-year strategy.
The new strategy states very clearly, for everyone involved in the sport, what our focus for the next five years will be. It should surprise no one that women, and junior cricket, are two of our seven strategic themes.
The others are high performance; providing our fans with what they want, in particular more Big Bash; promoting cricket to inspire everyone to love our great game; developing technology to deliver great experiences for everyone; and maximising our long-term, sustainable revenue.
Finally, I am also very pleased to report that there has been significant progress at the ICC over the past 12 months. We have welcomed two new Test-playing nations, Ireland and Afghanistan, made very important changes to our governance structure including a female independent director, overhauled the payments model to ensure it is a great deal fairer to all countries, and worked hard on the Future Tours Program to reach agreement that there will be, from 2019, a Test championship every two years and a new league for ODIs as well.
All in all, I think we will look back on 2016-17 as a landmark year for Australian and world cricket.
Chairman, Cricket Australia
Chief Executive Officer's Report
In September, Australian Cricket unveiled its new five-year strategy. Over 12 months, we engaged with fans, volunteers, staff and players within all states and territories and Cricket Australia to ensure that we had a clear understanding of the needs of our game, the competitive challenges, and the best way to ensure that cricket remains a fundamental part of Australian culture.
Before I reflect on our key strategic themes, it is worth remembering the main elements of our journey so far. Since 2011, we have fundamentally changed our governance – with a completely independent board, and a far more effective working relationship with the State and Territory Associations, to allow us to combine as one team. We have overhauled our financial model, which allows CA to maximise revenue from the popularity of cricket, and provide those same associations with a consistent share of that income so they can plan and run their game with a long-term focus.
We have reinvigorated Test cricket, having now staged three day-night matches, with Brisbane’s first such Test last year providing a significant boost to the format in that city. And we launched both the Big Bash and the Women’s Big Bash, which have brought hundreds of thousands of new fans to the game. It is not unreasonable to say that the Big Bash is the most successful start-up in Australian sport for decades.
In our most recent strategic period, from 2014 to 2017, we have seen many achievements. Participation in cricket has grown from 1.1 million to a new record of 1.4 million. Most importantly, women and girls represent 27.5% of that total, an increase of 25% in just the past year.
Attendance for the summer of 2013/14 – an Ashes year – was 1.7 million. In the 2016/17 summer, we set an all-time attendance record of around 2 million.
Four years ago, we had $27.8 million committed in our strategic growth fund for future investment. As of today, we have $88 million committed.
Over that period, we also had a collective agreement that only covered our male players. Our women did see significant pay increases, but not enough to provide them with any certainty of a professional sports career. Now, under our new Memorandum of Understanding, we believe we have the first gender-neutral pay system in Australian sport and all our women, both international and domestic, can turn their dreams of a sporting life into reality.
Of course, the performance of the teams themselves is a fundamental measure of our success, and we acknowledge that we have yet to meet our ambition of having both teams reach number 1 in all formats. The women held top spot in the ICC team rankings until only recently, moving to number 2 in the annual update by just decimal points to England. They did win the ICC’s inaugural Women’s Championship last year, but I know they were bitterly disappointed not to win the recent ICC World Cup.
The men are currently ranked five in Tests, three in ODIs and six in T20Is. Yes, we have a young team (seven of the 11 who played the second Test in Bangladesh had less than 10 Tests under their belt when the match began) but the Australian public rightly expects them to meet the challenge. We have not forgotten their success in the 2015 World Cup but there is no doubt that the upcoming Ashes – for both the men and the women – is the overwhelming focus for all involved and we wish our players well for the huge summer ahead.
Our new five-year strategy, as you would expect, has high performance as one of its key themes, and we maintain the ambition to see both teams reach number 1 in all formats. Just as importantly, we want to deliver the best high performance system for the players themselves. In the war for sporting talent, it is not just pay that captures the attention – young sportspeople must believe that they will be provided with the right support and opportunities to make the most of their talent.
Our other themes all build upon the foundation that has been created since 2011. We intend to be number 1 for fans and give them what they want, in particular growing the Big Bash; we will be number 1 for participation; the leading sport for women and girls; we will promote cricket to inspire a love for the game; we will use technology to deliver great experiences for all; and we will maximise our long-term, sustainable revenue so that we can invest in the game.
These seven themes have been embraced by everyone in Australian cricket, and they provide us with a blueprint that will deliver even greater levels of success to those we have achieved since 2011.
Turning specifically to the 2016/17 financial year, we have reported an operating deficit of $50.8 million, with net assets declining to $98.6 million. These results were in line with management and budgetary expectations and our four-year, Long Range Plan. It is well known that we budget over a four-year cycle to smooth out the annual fluctuations that occur with our broadcast revenues.
During the year we undertook a re-organisation of our key commercial assets, resulting in a number of significant changes to our commercial partner portfolio.
With our long-term partner the Commonwealth Bank, we created the largest female and diversity focussed partnership in Australian sport as we extended our association for a further three years. It meant that, this year, we funded an overseas tour by our three All-Abilities teams, making cricket the first sport after the Paralympics to provide such financial support.
We are excited to welcome a number of new partners to the portfolio, including the Magellan Financial Group as the Test Series Naming Rights partner, JLT as the Naming Rights partner of the Sheffield Shield and domestic one-day competition, Lion as our Official Beer & Cider partner, and Mastercard as our Official payment systems partner.
In addition to this, we are delighted Qantas have extended their partnership to become the inaugural Shirt Partner of the Australian men’s cricket team across all three formats of the game. This is the first time we have brought all three shirts together under one brand and we are honoured to partner with such an iconic Australian company to do so.
We are also very pleased to have renewed our KFC BBL Naming Rights partnership ahead of the extended BBL|07 season.
In the near future we will begin formal negotiations for our domestic media broadcast rights, which cover television, digital and radio, and we are confident these will attract significant interest. We have an outstanding relationship with our host broadcasters Nine and Ten and radio partners the ABC, Macquarie Media and Southern Cross Austereo. We thank them and all our media rights partners across multiple platforms around the world for the way in which they serve Australian cricket so well.
Across the board international cricket drew, on average, more than 1 million television viewers per session last summer, with numerous sessions averaging more than 1.4 million viewers nationally.
The BBL remained a consistently popular TV offering, with an average of more than 1 million people tuning in to every match. The TV ratings for BBL|06 saw it win 31 of 35 nights and cement itself as the number one ranked TV program for families over the summer. In terms of attendance, the season enjoyed an average of 30,114 people per match, a 2.3% increase on last year and placing it among the 10 biggest domestic leagues in the world.
And an increased number of broadcast matches of WBBL|02 – from 10 to 12 – was well received, with an average of 239,000 people tuning in to each match. Total attendance for the season was 121,663.
In the past 12 months we have completed new agreements in the UK (BBC Radio), South Africa (SuperSport), Africa excluding northern Africa and South Africa (Econet Media), the Caribbean (IMC and CWI), the US (Willow and NBC Sports Network), Canada (Asian Television Network), New Zealand (Sky Network Television Ltd), Fiji (FIJI TV) and Papua New Guinea (NBC PNG and EMTV). Just recently we completed an agreement with Sony Pictures Networks India for broadcast and digital rights for the Subcontinent for the next six years.
Again, I would like to thank everyone involved in such a successful year, including more than 200,000 volunteers who are the lifeblood of our game at community level, and the employees of cricket at state, territory and national level. Thank you to our Chairman and Board for their guidance and support through what has been a very busy and successful 12 months.
Chief Executive Officer, Cricket Australia
24 October, 2017