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Re: Middlesex QnA session
johnph (IP Logged)
02 December, 2017 15:27
Middlesex/MCC Q&A 30 Nov

I have posted these on the MCC Forum as well.

My quick notes from last Thursday’s Q&A with Guy Lavender and Richard Goatley. Hopefully these cover the main points without too many errors, please correct and add as needed.

For me it was an excellent meeting and initiative, which Richard said arose in chatting with Guy. I found it informative, friendly and open, with many insightful questions from the audience of around 60 to 80 Middlesex and joint Middlesex/MCC members. Fair play to both of them for holding this.

John Hegarty, joint Middlesex/MCC member

30 November 2017 MCC and MCCC Chief Executive Q&A

Guy Lavender, MCC, opening remarks:

Strong Middlesex relationship on which to build and strengthen.

Ground development agreed at MCC SGM, opens a new chapter for the club, building on high attendance and excellent independent match experience ratings, with WWC Final, being seen by many as the best match Lord’s has hosted, along with MCC/Afghanistan.

MCC has a buoyant membership with a large waiting list, which has both positives and negatives.

Cricket is changing with T20 Domestic competitions challenging and reducing test match broadcast revenues, combined with 4 day vs 5 day tests and the potential for reductions in the number of test matches. Adding to this is the new UK T20 competition.

MCC, as a result is not in control of its own destiny.

MCC must maintain its relationship and relevance with key partners, including ECB and Westminster Council.

MCC is seen as self-interested old boys club, a perception which needs to be changed.

Priorities are:

2020-2024 Major Match Allocation – MCC’s proposal to ECB in Dec, Presentation in Jan, Awards in Feb – MCC believes it has a strong case for 2 Tests and 1 ODI, teams want to play, the ground sells out and customer experience is excellent.

Cricket Strategy:

Quality and number of pitches
Match Programme, UK and International – its relevance to the club, mix of South Asian and Inner city matches (my interpretation is the relevance and perception challenge of Out Matches not reaching new audiences and maintaining the old boy/public school image).

Digital First, MCC’s new digital strategy, to offer an on-line experience to match the ground experience.

Community Engagement, local schools, residents, charities, with opportunities for joint MCC and Middlesex focus.

Delivering the 2019 ICC World Cup and Ashes experience.

Middlesex Room – Facts and Reality:

MCC Members at the 2015 AGM approved temporary use as offices and reinstatement has not happened. MCC Committee have recommended their retention as offices with the Upper Allen bar area to be redeveloped as the new Middlesex Room, with additional commercial sales opportunities.

Retention recommendation based on; SWP project (including new office space) will now follow C/E Stand development, staff growth has increased the need for more offices and ICC/ECB require pitch facing facilities.

Consideration of the Committee’s recommendation was to be made at the May 2017 AGM, but was withdrawn (due to member concerns) and members will now be consulted.

Consultation will comprise of a survey of MCC’s 450 member Representative panel in Dec, an invitation to all members to make their views known and the Panel Survey questions and briefing to be made available to Middlesex, so that Middlesex member views may be obtained.

MCC members will vote on any office retention/new Middlesex Room recommendation at the May 2018 AGM.

MCC, Middlesex cricket and New T20:

Good that more Middlesex matches are to be played at Lord’s in 2018. Middlesex returning to Dv1 is as important to MCC as it is to Middlesex.
MCC want to be a venue for the new T20 competition and views the competition as not about money making, but the creation of a new audience.

MCC is commercially strong and included within this is Middlesex relationship.

Richard Goatley, Middlesex, responding to and thanking Guy:

Scheduling 7 county games at Lord’s in 2018, is a big step forward and something that had been unachievable before.

Middlesex’s relationship has improved over the last 4 years, with Middlesex financially better off by £150k pa.

Middlesex’s first main ground Corporate Day added another £50k in 2017.

£200k a year equates to being able to afford 2 star players.

Middlesex’s partnership with MCC is strong and in great shape.

Q&A (broadly in order of being asked):

The match day experience is poor for Middlesex members. MCC is not welcoming and says no. No examples of this were given nor none asked for. A: GL/RG (I think) said they would look at this. (NB: this seems like a worthwhile topic to post on the Message Board, not so much for negativity, but for improvement opportunities.)

If the May 2018 AGM approves the Upper Allen Middlesex Room, when will it be available? A: construction Winter 2018, for 2019.

One outcome to the Middlesex Room, offered as a strong outcome to some MCC members, was restoral of the original room, but retaining a small office as Control Room contingency in case of failure of the Warner Control Room (Eng/Ireland match)? A: back to consultations, but if the room was restored an office behind the stairs would be retained.

Media Centre, space or use of boxes would be a better alternative? A: boxes are commercially valuable and a contingency Control Room needs to be close to the club’s Cricket Office.

An Upper Allen Middlesex Room will need lift access, with a later Q, on dress code, that Middlesex Room was smart casual (viewed as too restrictive) and that Pavilion lift access would move (unacceptably) the dress code to jacket and tie? A: MCC Membership and General Purposes to look at dress code.

Disabled Pricing and Memberships, plus free carer tickets? A: MCC and Middlesex will look at this and broadly support (Middlesex would like to rationalise down membership classes though).

Middlesex need match friendly pitches? A: focus is on maintaining quality (with some pitches, nearing points deduction (Lancs) due to over- use). MCC and Middlesex Cricket Offices are now adjacent with more interaction. RG stated that MCC not supportingt Middlesex’s preparation requests is untrue and Mick Hunt (who has not retired) is normally helpful. MCC has 3 drop-in pitches and is lifting one this winter to look at how they can help meet demand.

New T20 is a danger to Middlesex and will not this and 2019 games reduce Middlesex games at Lord’s? A: expectation is that Middlesex access will not be impacted, new T20 is expected to only add 4 extra matches (I think). Middlesex is MCC’s home team. RG – Middlesex was clear that it did not support the new tournament, but the reality is to get behind it and the tournament will be weak if not at Lord’s. GL, that it is not clear that Lord’s will be unavailable to Middlesex during the T20 and that Blast and the new T20 is not an either/or. The Blast sells out and Lord’s needs both and there will be some cross-over. New T20 will be family focused and bars and food will need to support this.

MCC members are not interested in Middlesex and MCC does not promote Middlesex matches (missing out on ticket and attendance revenues)? A: GL you have to accept that MCC members’ interests may be different.

Use of lights for daylight matches might improve Middlesex standing, other clubs are able to? A: MCC are constrained and this is a fundamental issue for the club. Meetings held with Westminster (30/11/17) to discuss Planning Application for 2019 and a separate day-time use Planning Application is to be made. MCC has to dismantle the lights each winter costing £60k, it would be better for us to donate this to the community that we are part of, and just leave them up.

Use of the President’s Box as the 2018 Middlesex Room replacement needs better communication on days when it is withdrawn, especially when done with less than 24 hours’ notice? A: Middlesex are not able to speedily communicate with its membership, especially with 3,000 members offering no email addresses.

What will be the shape and leadership of the 2018 squad? A: nothing major expected, other than more opportunities for developing players, nor any change of captaincy likely. The players and club are focused on returning to Div 1. Slow over rates will be focused on (Northants lost promotion because of this, it is not just us).

In terms of image (as elitist), and pressure on pitch usage, where does Oxford/Cambridge and Eton/Harrow fit? A: essentially historic, but will be considered as part of cricket strategy.

Perception, with Pavilion seating often empty, MCC and other matches (Tri service) not advertised and no facilities provided (nothing open for MCC/Scotland other than the Tavern for the public), is that MCC does not care about wider attendance? A: we need to do better, but facilities need to be scaled to expected demand.

School and especially local school access on Middlesex days could add to the new audience and relevance goals that MCC sees? A: something we can look at.

Lord’s needs to have better community engagement (to help improves its positioning), with a residents panel suggested? A: one exists chaired by a Westminster Councilor.

2016 had a Middlesex family day, 2017 did not? A: Middlesex will for 2018.

MCC controls Middlesex ticket prices, why not, as part of family encouragement, make children’s tickets (like over 65’s) free? A: GL, agree on the objective, but the price is low and unchanged for many years at £5 and a charge implies value. No change is planned, but pricing strategy is needed. Child attendance is static, but change from Free to Air T20 and family engagement is anticipated.

Re: Middlesex QnA session
BarmierKev (IP Logged)
02 December, 2017 16:38
Thank you John for sharing. We have further detail from Seaxe Man to follow in due course.

Barmy Kev
I'm only here for the tele

Re: Middlesex QnA session
Fozzie (IP Logged)
02 December, 2017 17:33
Thank you, very comprehensive.

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