Pre-season message from the CEO - Kia Oval Skip to main content

Good morning,

With the season very nearly upon us, we could not be more excited about welcoming you all back to The Kia Oval.

2024 will be another thrilling season of domestic cricket across the men’s and women’s games for Surrey and the South East Stars. With three international fixtures and The Hundred, it’s going to be a jam-packed year for everyone involved in the Club and the venue!

As we do all year round, our team have been working hard to make improvements for all visitors and Members to the ground. We will be trialling contactless Membership Cards in the early part of the season and Members eligible will be contacted via email to let them know when and how they can begin to use them. We hope that this innovation will reduce the time taken to enter the ground and make the experience of getting into the venue even better.

Those who head to the bars will see that there has been an increase in the cost of drinks. This has been driven by rising costs of production but also by an increase in the London Living Wage, which went up 10% after Christmas. Despite the increase, the Club has absorbed some of the increased costs to avoid passing all of this onto visitors and Members.

We have also made the decision to change the re-usable cup system that has been in place for around eight years. From this year, the price of the first drink will include a non-refundable fee of £1 – of which the proceeds will be donated to charity. For every subsequent drink, the fee will be waived if you bring back your cup to the bar when you order. If you do not bring back a cup, the £1 fee will be charged again. After your last drink, please place the cup in one of the donation stations around the concourse.

We estimate that the new system will result in significant sums being donated to charity, this is expected to be six-figure amount. A group of nominated charities, as well as the Club’s green initiatives, will benefit from the new system.

Whilst the previous system was a brilliant first step in reducing the waste associated with single-use plastic cups, it also led to some significant operational challenges, including long queues to refund cups at the end of the match and instances of spectators taking cups from other fans. As well as the new system addressing these issues, we will also be introducing a new handle less cup that has significantly less impact on the environment, reducing our carbon emissions associated with washing and transporting the cups by 84%. You may notice that last season’s cups will still be in use for the first handful of games this year. The new cups will be phased in as the season progresses to avoid wasting the old cups – which will then be recycled at the end of their lifespan.

After listening to feedback from Members, we have introduced a new process for seat reservations during The Hundred in the Laker Balcony. Members can secure a specific seat free of charge ahead of the fixture. If this trial is successful, we may look to expand it and roll it out for other competitions in future seasons.

Thank you once again for your continued support of the Club and we are excited for another fantastic year ahead.

Best Wishes,

Steve Elworthy, CEO