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KOMI thinking outside the box


Heather-Lynn Evanson

KOMI thinking outside the box

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The entity looking after the management of the mecca of cricket has found itself with a cash flow problem. But acting chief executive officer of Kensington Oval Management Inc. (KOMI), Ben Toppin, has stopped short of saying that KOMI is cash-strapped, though admitting that it has entered into the big show promotions foray as a way to keep the money rolling in.

“It is not that we are so poor that we need to do something so strange. We have the same challenges that any other company in Barbados, at this point in time, would be experiencing, especially Government entities,” he stressed.

But Toppin has conceded that the situation is such that KOMI will be looking after only “essential” things while “non-essential” acts will have to wait.

Toppin was speaking to MIDWEEK SPORTS in the wake of a Press conference to announce three vintage shows it is promoting, one a year, starting next month until the island’s 50th anniversary of Independence.

Asked directly about the state of KOMI’s finances, Toppin replied: “There are very few stadia that operate at a profit and very few that operate at a massive profit. We’re in neither category, but it is nothing strange.

“To expect a stadium of this kind to be a cash cow is wrong or somebody is rewriting the books. It is not going to happen. It will not be a cash cow in this size economy.”

The acting CEO admitted there are “things that can be done” to allow Kensington Oval to “hold its own” but those things take money.

“You have to bear with us if certain non-essential things are not done routinely because they are non-essential. We look at the essentials and take care of them and just try to keep the business going forward until things get better,” he said, revealing that Kensington Oval was a high maintenance venue.

He said the idea behind the shows was to fill voids on Kensington’s calendar of events and to keep revenue coming in. “If you do nothing you still have costs. We are trying to maintain a certain level of activity,” he said.

Toppin, however, hastened to add that the increased entertainment will have no adverse effect on Kensington’s pitch, despite much debate on the subject. KOMI, he noted, had been hosting entertainment shows, other sporting events and cricket matches without incident since 2008.

He referred to last year’s staging of Crop Over events in and around Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 matches and a football match played in muddy conditions, and said the pitch suffered more from football than from the shows.

“We know from experience that having a few thousand people on that field will cause no damage to the field. It is not an issue,” Toppin said.

“The pitch might get some damage but it is nothing that can’t be fixed. We just have to do whatever we need to do to put things in place. One is scheduling and the other is following a particular routine for the maintenance of the field,” he noted.

“We do what we need to do to make the place viable.”

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