Sussex sound festival warning to Arundel and Horsham

Ed Joyce emerges from the pavilion at Arundel Cricket Ground
Sussex have staged matches at Arundel Cricket Ground since the 1970s

Chief executive Zac Toumazi has warned Sussex may have to cut their cricket festivals in 2016 because of a lack of interest and sponsorship.

The club traditionally stage first-class and one-day matches at Arundel and Horsham during the season.

"Festival cricket is an interesting challenge," Toumazi told BBC Sussex.

"We all love it and all want it but very few want to pay for it. I am a massive supporter of it but the economics have to be considered."

Sussex have invested in new facilities as part of the redevelopment of the County Ground in Hove in recent years, and saw an increase in attendances at their main ground in 2015.

However, with crowds at Arundel and Horsham down in June and July respectively, Sussex chairman Jim May says they also need more support when they stage games around the county.

"We would like to play games outside of Hove but we need to get support there," May said.

"Our takings at Horsham and Arundel were considerably down last year on the prior year; gate money by over 30% while hospitality wasn't good at all.

"It is the old cliche - 'use it or lose it'.

"Unless we get significant sponsorship I find it highly likely we will only be playing at one festival ground in 2016."

Horsham Cricket Ground
Sussex played a Championship game against Nottinghamshire and a One-Day Cup match against Lancashire at Horsham in 2015

Toumazi added that corporate interest has "slumped off" in recent years, which could affect their decision on their festival schedule next year.

"I've been clear I would like it to continue," he said. "We either are going to have to invest money in it and understand it is more of a benefit for that local community and upholding the tradition, which I am keen to do.

"We look at the model all of the time but I can't guarantee what the outcome will be."

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