|Zac Toumazi - CEO, Sussex County Cricket Club|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 19 May 2014 11:25
Zac Toumazi was appointed as the Chief Executive at Sussex County Cricket Club in January 2013, after having been a regular visitor to Hove for a number of years. Zac’s role as Chief Executive also includes working with the Sussex Cricket Board, which includes both the club and recreational game throughout the county.
He has extensive experience in the financial services sector having fulfilled senior roles with Citigroup and Goldman Sachs before joining the cricket world. Zac was at Surrey County Cricket Club for six years and, as Group Commercial Director, played a major role developing the commercial side at the Oval. Zac moved to the role of Group Commercial Director of Hampshire Cricket in 2011 where he had a pivotal role staging their first test match and negotiating the AGEAS Bowl ground naming rights.
Zac’s key focus is to create a sustainable business model by diversifying revenue streams by way of turning the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground into a year round venue and putting Sussex cricket in the heart of the community throughout Sussex.
By Ismail Uddin
You have worked with for two other Cricket teams, why were you initially attracted to the CEO position at Sussex cricket?
I have always been a fan of Sussex. I've spent a lot of time at the county. I have always admired the club for what they have achieved. I have had two commercial positions at two other clubs but the opportunity to head up both the recreational cricket and professional cricket for county like this don't come around too often. It was a natural progression for me to take on a role as chief executive and this will be my last position, I believe.
You were appointed CEO of Sussex Cricket at the beginning of 2013, what changes have you seen in the club since you have been there?
The club continues to evolve. We have always been known for being the first to achieve a lot of things. For example we were the first club to fit permanent flood lights. What I have seen happen since I have arrived is that we have got a ground that has been redeveloped, an increase in the usage of the facilities year round which is clearly an objective for us. We have worked very hard in restructuring the business in terms of making it much more commercially focussed. I think another important element is that we take a completely fresh look in the way we market the club. We have put in place partnerships with local businesses that help us market the business side. It has improved communications with our members. I think we will continue to make progress and make the club more efficient.
On the pitch we have seen the team involve and we have new players in for this season and the early signs are very encouraging, We have had straightforward progression and that's what we focus on.
This season we see the introduction of the Natwest T20 blast. How have you embraced the new competition and do you expect the competition to be popular?
First and foremost the change in the competition has really just taken something that has been established and regulating it. Data that came from the ECB survey said the customer wants to know when the match is on, so regulating the time can only help. That will mean Friday nights will become Twenty20 evenings. For us we followed the guidelines and the direction from the ECB central marketing team and we also put our own flavour to it.
We are a ground that accommodates just shy of 7,000 people and we have always had a good reputation of creating a good atmosphere at the ground and I think this approach can only help with that. For us it's really about focusing on excellent delivery and controlling the behaviour of the crowd and helping people have a good time and maximising the opportunity. I think it's going to be hugely successful if I'm honest.
Do you feel in any way the promotion of this tournament may overshadow your county test matches and affect their attendances?
No I don't think so. From our point of view this can be described as entry level cricket. You come in for an evening, its relatively fast and furious and it's an experience. Of course it's all about the cricket and that's how it always should be but there is an attraction around the edges that make cricket appealing to a broader audience. I think if we're sensible , T20 can be used to get people engaged with the game. It's true when they say people who watch T20 cricket will watch other forms of cricket.
I don't think it will have any impact at all on the other forms. Championship cricket will always be the bedrock of what we do , it's the foundation and leads to hopefully playing for your country. Twenty20 is entertainment for a lot of people who may not have a full interest in the game but at least they are engaging with it. Hopefully as they understand it more and appreciate it that they will migrate to watching test match cricket and other forms of cricket.