Bristol Cricket Stadium. (Photo Source:Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Gloucestershire County Cricket Club is on the verge of selling its long-standing Nevil Road Ground in Central Bristol, considering a move to a new location outside the city. The historic Bristol stadium has been the home of Gloucestershire since 1889.
The stadium has been a regular host for England’s men’s and women’s white-ball internationals since the 1999 Cricket World Cup. However, persistent drainage issues have plagued the ground in recent seasons, resulting in the abandonment of the last four ODIs scheduled to contest there, including both matches during the 2019 World Cup and Ireland’s visit in September 2023. The County Championship opener against Yorkshire in April also faced disruption, being abandoned without a ball bowled.
The club’s financial situation reflects these challenges, with a reported loss of £570,000 for the year ending January 31, 2023, compared to a profit of £92,000 in the 2021-22 period, and the possibilities for significant infrastructure improvements are limited. A recent report in the Telegraph suggests that the land could fetch £40 million if sold to developers and the club confirming the potential sale of the Nevil Road Ground.
“To ensure the competitiveness and long-term sustainability of Gloucestershire Cricket, we must look at the possibility of relocating the club and are now looking to enter into more active negotiations around a potential move to an appropriate new site,” the club said in a statement.
“Whilst the current ground is still able to deliver the very highest level of cricket and customer experience at Nevil Road, we have to also prepare for the future. As we continue to grow, the strain on infrastructure and facilities at Nevil Road will become increasingly challenging, as will access to and from the ground.
“The opportunity to relocate is a highly exciting prospect for the club to explore, one that would allow us to enter the next stage of our history and thrive in the future as we continue to adjust with the modernisation of cricket, how it is delivered and the diversification of the overall business,” it added.
The favored location of the new stadium is situated near the M4 in South Gloucestershire, on the outskirts of Bristol. This option aims to enhance accessibility to a broader audience within the county.
“This is a significant turning point for cricket in Gloucestershire and Bristol as we look to secure the club’s long-term future in an ever-changing sporting world. As well as delivering for our members the modern and low-carbon facilities they deserve in order to showcase an ever-wider range of world class events here in the South West, we are keen to continue our active role in the community to widen participation and inspire the next generation of sportswomen and men.
“We look forward to engaging with our members, neighbouring residents, stakeholders, and the public as we continue a journey that WG Grace started many years ago,” said Gloucestershire Cricket Chair, David Jones, said.