Cricket Business : Good news for women cricket, Eng-W.I series delivers record viewership

More then the men’s cricket, Covid-19 has hit the women’s cricket really hard. Most of the scheduled international cricket series have been cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19 with little clarity on future schedules. Amid the gloom, there is a good news for the women’s cricket.

The England women’s cricket team’s 5-0 series victory over the West Indies in September was watched by a peak audience of one million viewers, according to figures reported by The Telegraph.

“I think it shows firstly that there’s an audience, a growing audience, which we knew but we probably didn’t expect quite such amazing viewing figures for the whole series,” said Clare Connor, the ECB’s women’s cricket director.

“The last game of full member women’s international cricket was played on International Women’s Day at the MCG in front of 87,000 people [at the T20 World Cup final], so I think that answers your questions as to why it really mattered that we had a month of international women’s cricket.

“For the visibility, for young talented girls who have just started on their playing journey to be able to see the England women’s team in action… There was lots of reasons why it was important we delivered that month of international women’s cricket and we’re absolutely delighted with the viewing figures.”

The Twenty20 (T20) matches had to be swiftly organised after South Africa and India pulled out of their respective tours of England due to Covid-19, but the five games still managed impressive audience figures across pay-TV network Sky Sports and public-service broadcaster the BBC.

The series achieved a total reach of two million, more than was recorded for England’s 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup final win, which was the most-watched women’s cricket match ever in the UK.

Cricket Business : ECB has avoided ‘financial oblivion’ but England cricket still in huge pain, declares CEO Tom Harrison

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had avoided “financial oblivion” from the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering on its broadcast commitments during the home summer, Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison said.

England returned to action following the novel coronavirus shutdown in July with three Tests against the West Indies in bio-secure venues at Southampton and Manchester.

They also hosted matches against Ireland, Pakistan and Australia in various formats.

“There is some pride at what has been achieved this year but there is also concern for the future,” Harrison told reporters.

“Being able to deliver on those broadcast commitments has frankly saved us from financial oblivion, and obviously not just us but the rest of the game too. It’s as stark as that.” The ECB said last month it planned to make 62 positions within the organisation redundant due to the economic impact of the pandemic and Harrison said the game sustained severe losses.

“The ECB has lost more than 100 million pounds ($129.88 million) of revenue and 800 days of live spectators in stadia,” Harrison added.

“The consequences of that are now being felt by people across the game who are losing livelihoods and are going through some very difficult moments in their lives.

“Right now at the ECB we’re going through the painful process of becoming a smaller organisation coming out of this summer.”

The ECB hoped to launch The Hundred, a new 100-ball tournament for men and women, in 2020 but that has been postponed for 12 months.

The 18 first-class counties played in a new four-day competition – the Bob Willis Trophy – and they have been assured by the ECB they will receive “100% of their funding” for next season.