More than 16m tune in to The Hundred as competition welcomes new fans to cricket
The Hundred has entertained and captivated millions of new and existing cricket fans – with a total of 16.1m people watching some of the action on TV alone, new figures show today.
A sell-out crowd at Lord’s this weekend saw Oval Invincibles being crowned the first women’s The Hundred champions and Southern Brave taking the men’s title. The competition has already proven itself to be drawing in new supporters to cricket. Of those watching the action on Sky or the BBC, 57% hadn’t watched any other live ECB cricket in 2021.
Viewing of this weekend’s showpiece finals day peaked at 1.4m for the women’s game, with the men’s game drawing a peak crowd of 2.4m.
Meanwhile, 510,000 tickets were sold and issued for the competition, with grounds across the country posting sell-outs and 19% of all tickets sold being for children.
Analysis shows that 55% of ticket buyers for The Hundred had not bought a ticket for cricket in this country previously.
The competition has also blazed a trail for the women’s game. Across the competition, it has been the highest attendance for a women’s cricket event globally ever. 267,000 have been there for the women’s games, smashing the previous record of 136,000 who watched the women’s T20 World Cup in 2020.
The opening match was the most watched women’s cricket match (across both international and domestic) in the UK on record, and two thirds of those aware of The Hundred think it is equally for men and women – higher than rugby union (36%), football (50%) and other forms of cricket (50%).
Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, said: “The Hundred is all about throwing cricket’s doors open – and we’ve seen in year one how it’s already delivering. It’s provided outstanding entertainment for new and existing fans alike, unearthed new cricketing heroes, and it’s been fantastic to see so many children and families enjoying the action. It’s also changed the game for women’s cricket, smashing record after record and creating role models for girls and boys to be inspired by.
“We need to grow cricket, reach more people and inspire more children to pick up a bat and ball – and that’s exactly what The Hundred does. If we’ve got more people playing the game, we have more county and Test stars of the future. That’s why we need to build on the success of this year and come back even better in 2022.
“The Hundred couldn’t have been the success it has been this year without the incredible support of Sky and the BBC, our commercial partners, the host venues, the wider cricket network and so many more people, and we’re grateful to all of them.”
Today’s data shows that as well as around a fifth of tickets being for children, 59% of ticket buyers were under 45 and 21% were female.
As well as people attending matches and watching on TV, reaching people digitally is vital in engaging young people. We’ve seen more than 34.3m video views and 264,000 downloads of The Hundred app.
Fans have shown a remarkable affinity with the eight brand new teams as well, with replica kits selling out from club shops. More than 28,000 items of merchandise have been sold, including 7,000 items of team kit and training-wear.
The cricket has been high quality, with more runs per ball in the men’s competition than the IPL and the Big Bash League, and more in the women’s than in the Women’s Big Bash League. 15 matches went right down to the wire with all to play for in the final five balls, and batters smashed 429 sixes.
The Hundred also provides an important new revenue stream for cricket, supporting investment in the domestic men’s and women’ game and grassroots cricket. The ECB is on course to hit our projections for revenue of around £50m – giving a surplus of £10m to invest back into cricket.
And inspiring more children to pick up a bat and ball is another key objective. This will take time, but this year, because of the introduction of Dynamos Cricket, a dedicated programme for 8-11 year olds which links to The Hundred, we’ve seen more than 100,000 children taking part in ECB programmes – a record.
The ECB has also provided funding to more than 1,600 clubs so they could stay open during the summer holidays to offer activities enabling more children and women to participate – with a 230% increase in the number of junior team fixtures post-July as well.
Bryan Henderson, Director of Cricket for Sky Sports, said: “At Sky, we are so proud of the role we have played in The Hundred, not just in terms of broadcasting and bringing the games to life for our viewers, but also our involvement in the development of the competition from day one through our partnership with the ECB.
“When we set out on this adventure with the ECB and the BBC, we knew the success of The Hundred would be measured by how much fans enjoyed and engaged with it and ultimately how many young people were inspired to pick up a bat and a ball.
“Today we can see this competition has already done so much for the sport. It has been a pleasure to watch it unfold and we very much look forward to planning year two.”
Exec Producer, BBC Cricket, Stephen Lyle said: “We are thrilled that so many tuned into our extensive TV, radio and online coverage of this brand new, innovative competition. Along with the ECB and Sky, it has been a pleasure to showcase the skill, drama, sights and sounds of The Hundred to fans and new audiences this summer. We are already looking forward to 2022.”