The England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) new tournament format, The Hundred, recorded impressive viewing figures for the opening weekend, despite fierce competition for sports audiences.
Nielsen Sports figures showed that the new 100-ball competition got off to a strong start, with viewership statistics also representing a shift in demographic.
Saturday afternoon’s men’s game between Trent Rockets and Southern Brave attracted a combined average audience of 836,000 between Sky and BBC, despite clashing with a congested sporting calendar including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, British and Irish Lions rugby and the King George Horse Racing meeting.
Additionally, the opening games have attracted more younger and female viewers. BARB data shows that the opening men’s game on 22 July saw an average audience of 1,215,000 on the BBC alone, with 12% of viewers under the age of 25 and a 39% female audience. The women’s game the previous night had 36% female viewers.
In comparison, the average men’s T20 demographic on Sky over the past two years attracted a 27% female audience.The average audience for the current domestic short format competition, T20 Blast, was 180,000 over the past two years.
Additionally, the Saturday evening’s men’s game between Manchester Originals and Welsh Fire was shown exclusively on Sky and attracted 557,000 viewers – although this was supported by the fact the game was available on Sky One to viewers without a sports subscription.