Rating Manual section 6 part 3: valuation of all property classes

Section 320: county cricket grounds

This publication is intended for Valuation Officers. It may contain links to internal resources that are not available through this version.

1. Co-ordination

County Cricket Grounds as a class are subject to co-ordination as outlined in Practice Note 1 to this section.

2. Description and Background

There are 17 County Cricket Grounds with widely varying standards of location and amenities; 6 of the 17 being Test Match Grounds as well. As with other sporting venues County Cricket Grounds are being developed and redeveloped both to meet the more exacting demands of supporters and the requirements of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and the Taylor Report following the Hillsborough disaster.

Costs of upkeep will vary considerably with some grounds having a proliferation of tents while others have large brick established buildings which in some cases are “listed”. Lords (Middlesex CCC), for example, has had to spend millions of pounds recently on both the upkeep of existing stands as well as replacing a complete stand. Other, may be better attended grounds, may simply have a pavilion and tented accommodation according to the number of sponsors in attendance on a particular day.

Cricket is facing an uncertain future at Test Match and County level. At County level the majority of clubs are lacking in support. Sponsorship and advertising are increasing for the more go-ahead Counties but large amounts of capital are required to meet improvements at the grounds and those at the bottom of the ladder are in financial difficulties. Generally the expenses of running a County Cricket Ground have increased many times more than the income and it is only through goodwill and benefactors that many Counties continue to operate.

3. The Test and County Cricket Board

The Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB) represent the 17 County Cricket Clubs in matters of organisation and finance although some Counties will have their own Rating Surveyors to agree valuations.

Each County keeps its own receipts for County Championship and Sunday League matches. All other income from the one day cup matches including semi finals and finals etc goes to the TCCB who redistribute it according to a pre set formula. All income from “Board” matches, such as Test matches, goes to the TCCB. National sponsorship deals are arranged through the TCCB although each County does have its own local sponsorship set up for such things as lunches, teas, players, kit, match balls etc. The TCCB do make grants from these gate receipts to the MCC, Minor Counties Associations, Oxford and Cambridge Universities and Scotland and Ireland.

The income from test matches is divided differently with Test Match “home” Counties receiving the largest “slices of the cake”. One problem here is that usually only 5 test matches are played each summer with 6 test match grounds. The sixth ground has to be maintained in full and hence the formula for division of income. TV fee money is distributed to Counties on a similar basis.

4. Basis of valuation

The assessment of sports grounds generally is dealt with in Rating Manual Section 6 part 3 Section 970.

The considerable variation in the size and amenities of the various county cricket grounds makes close comparison difficult.

Rental evidence is not likely to be found for county grounds but any such evidence coming to light should be checked and submitted so that it may be used for co-ordination purposes and comparative valuation.

Although the Lands Tribunal accepted a valuation based on a contractor’s basis rather than one derived from gross receipts in Warwickshire County Cricket Club v Rennick (VO) (LT 52 4R & IT 787), the subsequent case of Marylebone Cricket Club v Morley (VO) (LT 53 R & IT 150) saw the rejection of a contractor’s basis valuation in favour of a careful examination of the rent that would be supportable by the Club’s accounts.

In the light of these decisions, the general acceptability throughout the country, and the adoption of similar methods for other spectator sports hereditaments ,a valuation based on a percentage of gross receipts is to be favoured in arriving at the assessment of county cricket grounds.

5. Central Negotiations

It is likely that central negotiations will be conducted between CEO (Rating) and the TCCB to arrive at an agreed scheme of valuation for each revaluation. The agreed scheme for current rating lists is set out in the practice notes relevant to this section.