The Hundred's viewing figures demonstrate growth potential of free-to-air cricket

The Hundred

Ollie Phillips

The ECB have released the viewing figures for the inaugural season of their new creation The Hundred, the key determining factor of whether this most commercialised of tournaments has been a success. Upon first reading, one would expect the board and the tournament organisers to be fairly chuffed with their efforts.

A total of 16.1 million people watched a game on television, with 57% of viewers watching live ECB cricket for the first time this year. This number was obviously given a huge boost by games being shown on free-to-air TV, demonstrating the growth that such could offer to the game's other formats. Those previously unable to afford viewing packages have been granted easy access to elite cricket for the first time in years.

There were more than 34.3 million video views on the tournament's digital platforms. 510,000 tickets were sold and issued across the competition, with 55% buying a ticket for a cricket match in the UK for the first time ever. The attendance across the competition was confirmed as the highest ever for a women's cricket event globally.

Viewing of the finals peaked at 1.4 million for the women's game, with an extra million tuning in to watch the men. The Hundred, then, has emphatically met its intial targets and proceeded to exceed them. Its main goal was to attract new fans to the game, and to have such a number going to or watching their first cricket match this year, or indeed ever, is a resounding success.

The targets may not be in line with what cricket's existing, more traditionalist fanbase craves, but the ECB, you would think, will not care very much at all. Their decision to market an English tournament with more commitment and investment than ever before has paid dividends, with cricket being placed at the core of the mainstream British sporting summer.