Cricket’s shortest ever format and the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) inaugural 100-ball tournament, The Hundred, kicked off last week to impressive viewership ratings. The tournament includes eight teams in the men’s and women’s divisions.
The tournament which commenced on July 21 with the women’s teams Manchester Originals facing the Oval Invincibles has made a good impact on the audiences in its first week of action, despite the viewership challenge it’s facing from other sports, especially the Olympics in Tokyo, Rugby, amongst others.
Nielsen Sports, a leading source of sports measurement and analytics around the world, published numbers indicating the strong opening The Hundred received during its first week, including even stronger numbers on the weekend. It also hinted at the change in the audiences watching the tournament. There was a shift towards the younger audiences enjoying the tournament more than the other people. In that aspect, organizers of the tournament would be happy as their prime audience for the competition was the youth of the country.
The report suggested a generalized youth audience and specified the interest of females to be much higher in the tournament than in previous instances. According to the data available, the opening men’s game on July 22 saw an average audience of over a million on the BBC alone, with 12% of viewers under the age of 25 and a 39% female audience. The women’s game that set the tournament rolling the previous night had 36% female viewers.
Compared to data recorded of the last two years, the opening week of fixtures has attracted many more female audiences. There has been a 27 per cent hike in female viewership as compared to the Vitality T20 Blast aired on Sky Network.
Saturday afternoon’s men’s game between Trent Rockets and Southern Brave also brought in huge audience numbers over both the BBC and Sky. The combined number of viewers who tuned in for the game was estimated to be around 850,000.
Judging by this trend and viewership numbers, the signs are positive for the fate and popularity of this competition. The ECB will also hope the tournament continues to pull off some great encounters, especially like the one last evening between Northern Superchargers and Trent Rockets which went down to the wire as the Rockets emerged victoriously. Games like these will only enhance the viewership and reach of the flagship tournament.