Lancashire hope for multi-million bond boost

Lancashire announced Wednesday the launch of its first retail bond designed to help the English county cricket club raise £3 million ($5 million, 4 million euros).

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 24, 2014, 09:42 AM IST
Lancashire hope for multi-million bond boost

London: Lancashire announced Wednesday the launch of its first retail bond designed to help the English county cricket club raise £3 million ($5 million, 4 million euros).

However, cricket fans and investors would need to keep their money in the bond for a minimum of five years and have at least £1,000 to invest.

In return, the bond offers five percent interest paid in cash and a further two percent in vouchers which can be redeemed against the club`s international and domestic tickets, membership fees and hospitality products.

Lancashire said it had launched the bond to help raise £3 million in order to fund the building of a new four-star hotel on the site of its more modest lodge at the club`s Old Trafford headquarters ground in Manchester, north-west England.

"Our vision is for Emirates Old Trafford to provide one of the best sports, entertainment and business experiences in world cricket," said Lancashire chief executive Daniel Gidney.

"An attractive, contemporary hotel that will appeal to corporate visitors and private customers alike is central to this aim."

Lancashire County Cricket Club honorary treasurer Les Platts added: "The funds raised by the Cricket Bond will help us realise our ambitions while making a real difference to the future of cricket in this county."

Lancashire County Cricket Club`s last financial year saw record operating profits of £3.54 million.

But despite being one of England`s oldest international cricket venues -- it staged its first Ashes match in 1884 -- Old Trafford has been controversially overlooked for one of the prestigious and lucrative five showpiece Tests when Australia tour England next year.

On the field, Lancashire are battling to avoid relegation to the Second Division of England`s first-class County Championship -- which could have adverse financial implications -- in the ongoing final round of matches in this season`s tournament.

Applications for the bond are due to close on October 27 and will be considered on a "first come, first served" basis".

Launching a retail bond, where an appeal is made to a longstanding and large existing fan base, is becoming an increasingly common way for major British sporting organisations to raise finance.

For example, the Jockey Club -- the largest commercial group in British horseracing -- produced a Racecourse Bond to raise funds for a grandstand development at its course in Cheltenham, south-west England, home to one of the country`s leading annual jumps meetings.

Such was the demand, the Jockey Club extended its application window.