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September 5, 2022

ECB: 14.1 million tuned into The Hundred in 2022, overall attendance over 500,000

The record for attendance at a domestic women's cricket match in the UK was also broken.

By Euan Cunningham

The Hundred, English cricket’s shortest-format domestic competition, achieved an overall attendance of over 500,000 for its second season, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced.

The figure for this year’s edition of the tournament, the second, which came to an end on Saturday (September 3), was set across the course of 68 games, split evenly between the men’s and women’s eight-team competitions (34 each).

The ECB has said that in terms of specific attendances, the record for a women’s game was broken twice, with over 20,000 attending for the tournament’s final at Lord’s in London.

For women’s fixtures, there was an average attendance of 10,400.

Across the tournament’s domestic broadcast partners, pay-TV’s Sky Sports and the free-to-air BBC, meanwhile, a total cumulative audience of 14.1 million was recorded. 

The ECB has not yet given specific all-encompassing viewing figures. Late last week, a UK media report suggested that BBC viewing figures for The Hundred fell by close to 20% during the 2022 season, from its inaugural campaign in 2021.

According to The Telegraph, BBC audiences decreased from 615,000 per game in the inaugural 2021 campaign to just over 500,000 so far this season.

In terms of specific fixtures, the opening game of this year’s competition, a men’s clash between Southern Brave and Welsh Fire, is said to have attracted 550,000 viewers – less than half the number that tuned into last year’s inaugural fixture.

This season, 18 matches from The Hundred – 10 from the men’s competition and eight from the women’s edition – were covered live on the BBC.

Of the 14.1 million figure provided by the ECB, the governing body has said that 42% (5.9 million) hadn’t watched any top-tier cricket prior to 2022.

In July, Sky Sports extended its partnership with the ECB until the end of 2028 and will remain the dominant broadcaster of all international and first-class domestic cricket – both men’s and women’s – for the next six years.

In terms of the profile of ticket buyers, meanwhile, 28% were women, while families accounted for 41%.

The ECB has also said that the tournaments are on course to secure revenue of £10 million ($11.5 million) for the governing body and that over the course of the tournaments the teams’ social media accounts have seen their follower counts rise by 76%.

Sanjay Patel, The Hundred’s managing director, said: “It’s been brilliant to see more families, more kids, and record numbers attending the games this year. The Hundred is all about welcoming more people into cricket, and it has delivered on that again this year.”

Stephen Lyle, the BBC’s executive producer of cricket, added: “To be able to bring new audiences to the world of cricket and see increased levels of engagement in local areas is integral to our offering at the BBC. It has also been a pleasure to witness breakout players star alongside world-class talent and we can’t wait to see where The Hundred goes next.”

Jacob Kemp, an analyst at GlobalData Sport, has commented: “Designed as a competition to draw in new fans to the sport, the Hundred has had two big successes this season – family engagement and interest in the women’s game … 

“When looking at the event from a commercial perspective, it is clear that it is set up to appeal to families, with its 2022 sponsorship portfolio going without an official alcoholic brand or betting partner. The increase in younger fans and families at matches supports the greater interest in women’s sport, with more people attending those matches than ever before.

“With more coverage and greater attendance figures at these games, the tournament boosts the profile of female sport more widely and creates more role models within the game. With greater access to top women’s sport and more younger fans in attendance, it offers greater optimism for the women’s game in the future, as more fans start to appreciate the skill on a more even footing with the men’s game.”

However, he adds: “The men’s game – and indeed the overall picture – is down in terms of metrics such as TV viewership, which could be explained by a significant number of non-competitive fixtures and the loss of a number of key players, particularly those under England Cricket Board (ECB) central contracts.”

Read a Sportcal powered by GlobalData interview with Rob Calder, The Hundred’s commercial director, and an interview with Kevin McNair, marketing director of teams’ sponsor KP Snacks.

Image: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

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