- Feb 25, 2024
- Aug 25, 2022
England and Wales Cricket Board have received a major setback as BBC attendance for the Hundred has fallen by around 20%. The Hundred tournament, which had an amazing viewership in its inaugural year, seems to have tapered off this year.
There has been a drop from an average of 615,000 per match last summer to just over 500,000 in the ongoing season of the Hundred. This fall has come despite England’s Test series against South Africa gathering a staggering number.
The launch of the Hundred attracted a lot of fans and the inaugural season was a big hit. For instance, the inaugural women’s game between the Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals had viewing figures which peaked at 1.6 million on the BBC and to add to that, 180,000 people were watching the match live on BBC iPlayer. However, this year’s curtain-raiser between last year’s winners Southern Brave and the Welsh Fire attracted 550,000 fans, which is lower than half of the audience 2021 opening game.
The sources close to the British Broadcasting Corporation have suggested that there may be several factors behind the drop in viewership, rather than a drop in interest in the tournament. Tom Harrington who is an analyst at Enders Analysis has stated his thoughts on the decline in television viewing.
“Maybe up to half of that decrease you could put down to a general decline in television viewing, while the rest would be due to some combination of fixture quality, competition in slots, and loss of interest in the event itself,” Harrington said.
Though the viewing figures have taken a hit, the ticket sales have been quite good with most grounds full for Hundred matches outside Cardiff. Also, the BBC figures for England’s 2020 game against Pakistan, which was streamed the previous Sunday were staggering and were just below the peak of 1.7 million.
England and Wales Cricket Board have already suffered backlash for blocking cricket behind Sky’s paywall. When the BBC was contacted by Telegraph Sport, they said “We are very proud of BBC Sport’s comprehensive coverage of The Hundred. He has opened up the world of cricket to new audiences, with millions of people tuning in to follow him on our platforms.”