Photo Credit: ICC
When 86,174 people packed into the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Final, it was a physical symbol of how far women’s cricket had come.
It didn’t just mark 86 years since women had first played cricket internationally, but the continuation of the rapid growth of the game in recent years.
The creation of the Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League showed the potential for women’s cricket, something which was realised at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2017.
More than 180 million people watched around the world, and they couldn’t stop watching – there was an almost 300% increase in viewing hours compared with the 2013 edition.
In the UK, where the tournament was played, the final was the most viewed cricket match of the summer.
The tournament was also a hit digitally as the hashtag #WWC17Final became the most tweeted hashtag for a women’s sports final.
But the most striking sign of the growth of the women’s game, and what was to come, was a packed-out Lord’s as 24,000 people cheered England to victory.
It was far greater than the 5,000 who had seen England triumph there in 1993, the previous ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Final to be held at the traditional Home of Cricket.
Three years later, women’s cricket broke even more ground.
That crowd at the MCG on 8 March 2020 was the highest attendance for an ICC T20 World Cup Final, either men’s or women’s.
It narrowly missed the record for the highest attendance at a women’s sporting event in the world but easily claimed the record in Australia.
However, it wasn’t just the showpiece that saw record crowds, the entire tournament was a hit, a total attendance of 136,549 making it the highest attended women’s cricket event ever.
Australians who couldn’t get to the ground for the final watched in the droves, all 1.2 million of them, while a further 9.02 million Indian fans watched their side lose to the hosts.
Again, the tournament excelled on digital platforms, with over 1.1 billion video views on the ICC’s digital channels, the second-highest figure for a tournament at that point in time, behind only the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.
There is potential for even more growth in viewing figures at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 in New Zealand with travelling fans unable to attend.
Whatever happens, the tournament is the start of an important few months for women’s cricket with another first coming in the English summer.
Edgbaston will play host as women’s cricket makes its bow in the Commonwealth Games. The tournament will see the top eight Commonwealth nations, including six attendees of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, compete for gold.
It is another chance for women’s cricket to stand alone and shine on the world stage and it will serve as a reminder of where the game has come from and all that is still waiting to be achieved.