- County news 2013
Madness to headline as Northants sign music deal
Northamptonshire have secured a financial boost by agreeing a five-year deal with a concert promoter to bring high-profile acts to their county ground. Madness, who performed on the roof of Buckingham Palace during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations last year, will be the first to appear and have been scheduled to play at the ground on Sunday, September 22.
The deal is a joint venture between Northamptonshire and the promoter so the income will depend on ticket sales, but conservative estimates suggest the concert should earn the club at least £50,000.
Northamptonshire recently declared a profit of just under £23,000 for the year ending September 30, 2012. Although poor weather, poor results and a lack of off-field attractions reduced revenue, the club cut costs by around £475,000 to alleviate the effects of testing economic conditions.
Long-term, though, the club are keen to increase their non-matchday income and hosting concerts plays a part in that. The club have previously hosted an Elton John concert and are about to embark on a major refurbishment of their conference and banqueting facilities that they hope will increase their revenue by 25 per cent over the next few years.
A tourist game against Australia is expected to provide a major boost to Northants' 2013 finances and the club have invested in improving their practice facilities in order to make the ground more attractive to future touring teams.
It is not hard to see the influence of the club's chief executive, David Smith in all these developments. Smith was appointed in December 2011 following a career as a player at Warwickshire, several years as CEO of Leicestershire CCC and 20 years experience in the leisure industry.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo