The new 100-ball franchise competition The Hundred by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) commenced with such a blockbuster opening that saw Oval Invincibles beat Manchester Originals in the women’s competition on 21st July. The match was telecasted simultaneously by the pay-TV giant Sky Sports and the BBC public service network.
BBC Two broadcast drew in a massive 1.6 million viewers, along with 180,000 live streams on iPlayer and BBC Sport online. The remainder of the figure came through Sky as they streamed the game on its ‘Main Event’ channel and its Mix option, as well as providing free coverage on Youtube.
A statement released by ECB said that 3.8 million people were engaged for a minimum of three minutes, with 35 per cent of all viewers said to be female. The ECB also revealed that about 2.5 million viewers appeared for the first men’s fixture on BBC and Sky.
The managing director of The Hundred, Sanjay Patel said, “We couldn’t have asked for a better start to The Hundred – a thrilling match which went down to the wire, a brilliant atmosphere inside the crowd with lots of families and children, and record figures watching at home.“
“The Hundred is all about throwing cricket’s doors open for everyone, and the response to last night’s game has been remarkable. We know this is only the first game and there is a still a lot of hard work ahead. We’re grateful to Sky for their long-term support for English cricket and especially The Hundred and are excited by the partnership with them and the BBC helping us to reach a broader audience.”
ECB’s data also confirms that the day of the launch was also the busiest for the new ticket sales, with more than 11,000 purchased in the span of 24 hours.