Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION WITH NEW COMMERCIAL MANAGER DAVID HOSKINS

New Worcestershire CCC Commercial Manager David Hoskins is bringing a vast amount of experience to Blackfinch New Road after successfully occupying a similar role for the past decade with Luton Town.

Mr Hoskins played a key role behind the scenes in helping Luton climb back up the footballing ladder from non league into their current role in the EFL Championship this season.

It was a major challenge he proved more than capable of meeting and already Mr Hoskins has outlined areas he is looking to expand and improve at Worcestershire CCC to increase revenue and income.

Here he outlines his plans for the future in a Question and Answer session.

Question: What attracted you to coming to Worcestershire as Commercial Manager.

David Hoskins: “I think I’d made my mind up about 12 months ago that I was going to leave Luton and I had targeted cricket which is my first love.

“I actually was in discussions with another county but happened to be a guest at a T20 game at Northampton against Worcestershire and met Paul Pridgeon who was visiting.

“I spoke with him about for an hour, got on well, he then introduced me to Fanos (Hira) – Worcestershire CCC Chairman – and things went on from there.

“Cricket is on the up. There is no doubt about that, England winning the World Cup, more sponsorship coming into the game, women’s and disabled cricket on the rise.

Question: Cricket is a different sphere to football in terms of cricket, a big challenge?

David Hoskins: “It is a big challenge but it is a similar challenge to when I first joined Luton.

“The club is in a similar place, lovely club, lovely tradition, fabulous established players who have played here and some very exciting young players playing here now.

“There is a lot of scope here, some lovely people that really mean well and, with a bit of time, energy, expertise and luck, I think we will be alright.”

Question: How have you found the first few weeks?

David Hoskins: “Challenging. My brief is to help improve all commercial aspects at the club, reporting directly to the Chairman and the Board, there’s much that can be done, in time, to improve things.

“We are going to do some things in retail and get to know the community – because if I don’t know the community, I am not going to get anywhere here.

“I’ve already picked up some good contacts. I’ve got to get myself out there, show people what I can do.

“People have got to trust me. If I say I’m going to do something, I need to deliver it. As a club we need to do that. It’s all exciting.”

Question: Have you any specific targets or ambitions?

David Hoskins: “I have some ambitions. I want to turn the retail side around in 2020. I’ve had several meetings with the really good guys from the Supporters’ Association.

“We’ve discussed retail. We’ve discussed how they can help me do retail. They’ve spent years volunteering for the good of the club which is lovely – and we still want them to volunteer. But maybe volunteer in a slightly different capacity.

“We need to buy smarter, we need to merchandise things smarter, we need to have a more interesting range. We need to buy small quantities because we don’t want to tie money up in large amounts of stock,

“We’ve already done the kit designs for the 2020 season. They are all done and approved. I really hope from a retail perspective that we can make an impact.

“There are various other aspects we are looking at, two or three things in catering. We are looking at some of the bigger details in catering at the moment which will go to tender in January.

“We’ve made some inroads regarding ticketing and membership. All-round there is lots to do but, with retailing, I’d like to think we can make a mark with that pretty quickly.

“Just general merchandise – a V neck jumper, cufflinks, ties, hats. Let’s have every kid in Worcestershire walking around in a T20 shirt.

“What the players wear in T20 is what will be sold in the shop.”

Question: Is there a lot of untapped commercial potential?

David Hoskins: “In most areas, there is a lot more that can be done. You can see potential. That is good for me and I’ve got to come here and prove to people that I can do the job. I want people to see what I can do.”

Question: How much does having a ground in such an iconic setting help with selling, marketing etc?

David Hoskins: “When cricket is being played, with the cathedral in the background, this has got to be one of the most iconic grounds in this country, if not farther afield.

“In terms of a venue, if you hosting weddings, parties etc, that as a backdrop is huge.

“But in addition to that, the ground is right in the heart of a thriving city, with excellent parking facilities, and I would like to think this is the first place that people would want to come.

“Of course, we’ve got competition, and that’s healthy. We just need to ensure that we continue to ‘up’ our game and our offering – and I know we have done that considerably recently.

“But being in the middle of the city, with the iconic cathedral in the background, that is a big positive.”

Question: I guess a long term objective will be to have The View and the Graeme Hick Pavilion bulging with people for functions every day of the year?

David Hoskins: “Non match day income in any sports stadium – cricket, football, rugby etc – is crucial. What happens on a match day, to a certain degree, looks after itself.

“It’s what you do on the non-match days that stands you apart.

“Whilst there have been a lot of Christmas parties recently, the corporate boxes are rented on a fairly regular basis for meetings, there’s plenty more that we need to do.

“They are areas we can definitely improve upon, occupancy rates that we can certainly make a difference to.

“But there are also other things we can do here as well and there are discussions ongoing about other events we can have here, some on a large scale, some on a smaller scale that we currently don’t do.”

Question: In the recent past, we have held concerts here, people like Elton John, UB 40, Billy Ocean, Olly Murs?

David Hoskins: “I’m sure we will be definitely be doing more concerts here in the near to mid future. One hundred per cent. We hope to be in a position to update members on this in the first quarter of 2020.”

Question: Does having a successful side on the pitch have a big impact on the commercial side of the club?

David Hoskins: “The honest truth is if cricket is the same as football, which I’m sure it will be, if you have a successful side on the pitch it makes your life a lot easier off the pitch.

“That doesn’t mean to say that you don’t have added pressures because success brings pressure to a certain degree.

“But in terms of aiding you sell the next match, it helps 100 per cent.”

Question: What are your long goals?

David Hoskins: “To have more people in the ground, definitely. To have more people on non matchdays is a big thing of mine, to stage more events, to have some new sponsors whether that involves £500 a season or £500,000 a season.

“There is a lot of business in Worcestershire as well as Worcester that don’t know the benefits of the cricket club, the impact, the social media stats etc.

“There are lots of opportunities for local, Midlands and national companies that it is my job to tap into.”