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Bumper crowd and benefits in kind from the Oval switch

Friday 9th July 2010

Jamie Clifford believes Kent have benefitted from hosting Friday’s game at The Oval

By Mark Pennell

Kent chief executive Jamie Clifford has declared the county“s innovative move to host Friday evening“s Friends Provident t20 clash with Essex at the Brit Oval as a success.
The South Group game, which finished in a thrilling last over win for Essex, attracted a crowd of 7,620 – far and away Kent“s largest of the season so far.
“Given where Twenty20 crowds are this year I think we“re quite pleased with the response,” said Mr Clifford following the match in SE11.
“There was a concern in some quarters that we would lose money, but this won’t be the case. It“s not the bumper pay day we thought it might have been when we were planning this back in December and January, but I think that, from attendances seen elsewhere this year we realised that was likely to be the case.
“I think we can be satisfied. As for whether we were to do it again? That would be dependent on how the programme shapes up next year.
“Going around the ground talking to members and supporters I think they enjoyed it. Quite a few, who maybe work in the City, have said to me ‘this is great, you must do more of this. It gives me a chance to see some Twenty20 cricket“.”
He added: “I can“t speak highly enough of the staff here at The Oval, who have been fantastic. Our commercial team have got a lot from working side by side with the Surrey team on how you promote games at big venues. It“s an intangible benefit, and who knows what that is worth, but I believe we have up-skilled our commercial team by coming here to work with resources we can only dream of.
“I“ve enjoyed working with Surrey“s chief executive Paul Sheldon and Zac Toumazi, their group commercial director, as an organisation this has been really good for us.
“It“s also opened commercial benefits. There are corporate clients here tonight who wouldn“t come to Canterbury because we“re too far away, so it has many benefits for us.
“It“s repositioned our brand slightly and said to people that we“re willing to try different things. Kent is a fairly traditional county in its approach to life and in one move we are saying that we are now willing to look at things slightly differently.”
"This doesn’t mean we are about to take up residence in South London, and members and supporters should be reassured that it will be business as usual for the rest of the season. In three weeks time it will be Canterbury Week – in its 168th year – a reminder that the traditional way of doing things is very important to the county too."