It’s just not cricket: OCA braced for hard times

Mike Coggan. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Mike Coggan. Photo: Peter McIntosh
The Otago Cricket Associa­tion is bracing itself for hard times as efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus start to bite.

Sports events around the globe are being postponed or cancelled as the world grap­ples with Covid-19.

Travel restrictions and bans on large gatherings are having a big impact and cricket is certainly not immune.

On Monday, the final two rounds of the Plunket Shield were cancelled and on Wed­nesday all community cricket was called off.

And last week the Chappell­Hadlee and T20 series between New Zealand and Australia were postponed and it is not certain when they will be rescheduled.

The first game of the T20 series was to be held in Dun­edin and presented a sig­nificant opportunity for the Otago Cricket Association (OCA) to gen­erate revenue.

That oppor­tunity has been lost and it is unclear whether the OCA will be able to recoup its expenses, chief executive Mike Coggan said.

‘‘There will be some finan­cial fallout - just how much will be interesting,’’ he said in response to a general question about the financial impact of Covid-19.

‘‘We were going to benefit from the T20, there is no doubt about that. We had a full hospitality package in place.’’
Coggan estimated the association would have netted $30,000 after expenses, which was not an insignificant pay­day for the association.

The OCA has had to can­celled other events, including the ‘‘Long Lunch at the Longroom’’ and the associa­tion’s annual awards evening planned for April 2.

Last year the association generated about $15,000 of income from the Long Lunch.

‘‘Everything we’d planned which involves a gathering has been can­celled. We had the Long Lunch at the Longroom coming up, there was a media night for the T20 and the T20 itself has gone.

‘‘It reminds me of the sort of emergency plans we had to put in place after the Christchurch Earthquake, other than this time it is on a world scale.

‘‘The financial implications in the short term are real and long term they are unknown.’’

If the association cannot make good use of the Longroom to host functions, the financial bleeding will continue.

Then there is the larger picture to consider. The trickle-down funding which comes from broadcasting rights will shrink if inter­national games continued to be postponed or cancelled.

‘‘If we can do everything we can to try and contain it [Covid-19] in the next two months then you might have a normal season come October.

‘‘The biggest concerns will be for the winter sports. At least cricket has just finished and we’ve got the winter to consider what the spring looks like.’’

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