A competition that very few of us welcomed with open arms before a delivery was bowled, is now a fans favourite. Delayed by a year, the inaugural Hundred competition has gone beyond everybody’s wildest dreams of being successful.
A huge praise must go down to the ECB for having the balls to go with a new style cricket tournament, knowing it would work. It was deemed a failure by everybody, fans and media were totally against it, but boy it has been a breath of fresh air for the past three weeks.
New breed of fans have warmed to the Hundred
It has brought a new breed of fans into the sport. Many, would never have been to a cricket match in their lives. After the huge success of the competition, boys, girls and adults will now want to go along and watch another form of the game.
Up and down the country crowds flocked to stadiums in there thousands. On Sunday the final at Lords saw a record attendance for a women’s match of over 17,000. Later in the day almost 25,000 were at the home of cricket to see Southern Brave be crowned Hundred men’s champions.
Despite the final lacking excitement, the whole tournament has been a success
Neither the men’s nor women’s Hundred finals was able to deliver much of a match in terms of excitement. However that still didn’t distract the crowds attention away from the cricket.
The Hundred has entertained and captivated millions of new and existing cricket fans. Having the tournament on free to air TV has certainly helped bump up the viewing figures. A total of over 16 million people watched some of the action on TV alone.
Of those watching the action on Sky or BBC, 57% hadn’t watched any live cricket in 2021. Viewing of the weekends showpiece finals day peaked at 1.4m for the women’s game. A peak crowd of 2.4m were watching the men’s version of the Hundred.
Over half a million tickets sold
It hasn’t been just the TV watching public who have voted with their feet. An incredible 510,000 tickets were sold throughout the competition. Many grounds around the country posting sold out signs.
What the Hundred has also done is to promote the women’s game to the fore . Having the advantage of the women playing before the men on the same day has been a winner. Over 267,000 have watched the women’s matches, smashing the previous record of 136,00 who watched the Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020.
To walk around grounds and see so many families and youngsters at games is so encouraging for the game. The connoisseurs of white ball cricket-mainly the Blast- have really got in to this new format. Even the evening matches have seen families and the T20 crowd mix together with no trouble.
The initial idea of the Hundred was to get a new breed of fan into cricket. Well that has worked big time. The fun and excitement of the tournament has been relished by all including the players.
Bye bye Hundred, we have loved having you in the cricket calendar. Next year the event will be bigger and better than this years effort, and that is saying something.