The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has admitted that the proposed new 100-ball cricket tournament – The Hundred – is likely to cost $52 million (£40 million), which is three times more than initial estimations.
According to British online newspaper The Independent, ECB chairman Colin Graves, at a meeting between the domestic cricket body and executives from the 18 first-class English counties, has claimed that The Hundred’s initial £13 million projected cost may surge beyond £40 million, drastically cutting into the projected profits of the tournament.
The rising cost is likely to anger counties, especially those not hosting a team, who already had doubts after the recent test event and are looking allay the unrest over the new format with the promises of the profits from the new competition.
Plans for the new format have divided opinion in cricket despite the ECB approving a proposal for the tournament in April last year. The controversial hundred-ball format caused further concern, however, with some worried that it will threaten the success of the current popular Twenty20 (T20) Blast.
The new format – which will include 15 overs followed by a final 10-ball over – is said to have been created to boost cricket’s appeal to a younger audience, is set to start in 2020, with men’s and women’s events due to take place alongside the T20 Blast competition.
The disquiet over the issue is likely to damage Graves’ position as chairman of the ECB, with a second term severely under threat following the anger after these latest revelations.
Last week’s meeting at The Oval reportedly left county officials also frustrated with no progress on potentially increasing the number of T20 games from 14 to 16.
Meanwhile, the ECB did agree on reforms to the County Championship, which will see an expansion to its top tier in 2020, with one relegation and three promotions between the top two divisions next year.