Wednesday, July 24, 2024

ECB: Summer of cricket captivates the nation

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Photo Credit: ECB

  • Record 655,000 people attended the Men’s LV= Insurance and Women’s Metro Bank Ashes Series this summer
  • Every day of the Men’s Ashes series sold out in advance, with total attendance topping 545,000 – after 110,000 watched Women’s series
  • England Women’s attendances hit new records with ODI series also selling out – a first for an England Women’s series
  • 17.8 million watched some of the action live on Sky or BBC highlights, with new viewing records set
  • More than 609 million video views across digital channels for content from both series
  • England bucket hat fever captures the nation, with nearly 10,000 bucket hats selling out as both series grab the imagination
  • The 2023 Ashes is the first time a Men’s and Women’s Ashes series has been promoted side by side in a singular Ashes campaign, through the ‘Ashes, Two Ashes’ campaign
  • Cricket fever carries through to opening day of The Hundred, with average TV viewing for first men’s game 50% up on last year’s opener

Following the thrilling finale to the Men’s LV= Insurance Ashes series this week – where England Men sealed victory in the final Test at The Kia Oval to draw the series – total attendances for both Men’s LV= Insurance and Women’s Metro Bank Ashes series have hit 655,000.

Both Men’s and Women’s series have captured the nation’s imagination, with sold out stadia and millions tuning in at home, on TV or online to take in the action. Each series contained thrills, spills and high drama. Both ultimately ended in draws after England claimed victories in their final games.

And cricket fever carried through to the opening day of The Hundred yesterday, with nearly 4 million tuning in to some of the action between Trent Rockets and Southern Brave on TV and more than 9,000 tickets being snapped up yesterday alone. Overall more than 500,000 tickets have been sold for the competition.

Data released today shows:

  • Every day of the Men’s LV= Insurance Ashes series sold out in advance – something that wasn’t achieved in either of the thrilling 2005 or 2019 series.
  • The total attendance for the Men’s series was 545,000, higher than any recent Ashes series. This was eight per cent higher than the last series in 2019, and 14 per cent up on the classic 2005 series. A further 110,000 were in stadia for this year’s Women’s Metro Bank Ashes.
  • The average daily men’s attendance was 23,734, also higher than any recent series.
  • Total TV viewing across the two series has seen 17.8 million tune in, watching either the live action on Sky or the highlights on BBC – 14% up on the 2019 series.

These figures follow the record-breaking figures already released for the women’s series. Attendances for the Women’s Ashes were 4.5 times higher than in 2019, with 5.3 million people watching live on Sky Sports and BBC, and 2 million watching BBC TV highlights.

The 2023 Ashes is the first series to have the Men’s and Women’s fixtures promoted side by side in a singular campaign, through the ‘Ashes, Two Ashes’ campaign. Over a third (33.5%) of ticket buyers for the Metro Bank Women’s Ashes were women, demonstrating how the sport is reaching new audiences, and building on the rapid growth in attendances for women’s cricket seen in The Hundred and for England Women over the past two years.

When adding the Men’s and Women’s series figures together, a total 17.8 million watched Ashes cricket this summer on TV either live or on highlights. This is 14% up on the 15.6m who watched in 2019. People also watched for longer – with the average viewer of the Men’s Ashes watching 9 hours 51 minutes, a third longer than in 2019.

Both series set new viewing records for Sky, with huge growth for all three formats of the women’s series compared to 2019. Sky’s average viewership was nearly 50% up on 2019 for the Men’s series, with new Peak and average viewing records being set for its Test coverage. The BBC has also had record listening numbers for BBC Sounds.

More people are also watching Ashes-related content online through social media with the two series amassing over 609 million video views through the ECB’s digital channels.

As Ashes fever gripped the nation, England bucket hats also became one of the must-have fashion accessories of the summer. Just under 10,000 have flown off the shelves with supplies selling out. Demand surged after players began wearing the hats at training and in appearances.

Meanwhile 3.97 million tuned in to watch some of The Hundred’s opening games between Trent Rockets and Southern Brave’s Women’s and Men’s teams yesterday. Both games were live on Sky and the BBC.

The average 927,000 audience for the men’s opener was 51% higher than last years men’s opener, while an average 473,000 watched the women’s match. The men’s audience peaked at 1.49m, while the women’s peak was 787,000.

Richard Gould, ECB Chief Executive Officer, said:

“The 2023 summer will go down as one of the most enthralling we’ve seen. The Ashes has captivated the public imagination once again, but this time it has been different, with the Women’s and Men’s series taking equal billing and fans being treated to some stunning cricket throughout. Although both series were drawn, we have been able to enjoy double white-ball series wins for the Women’s team and a Men’s team who have changed Test cricket, ‘walking the walk’ as Ben Stokes has said, and getting so close to staging the most remarkable comeback.

“Fans up and down the country have responded to support the players, breaking attendance and viewing figures along the way. 110,000 attended the Women’s Metro Bank Ashes – 4.5 times more fans than in 2019, with sell-out crowds, something also seen in the Men’s series. On TV and online, we have again seen incredible interest, demonstrating that the love for cricket in England and Wales is as strong as ever, and that Test cricket is still as relevant as ever.

“We are fortunate that we have such wonderful support for the national side, which will undoubtedly continue as we look forward to more international cricket later this summer with England Men hosting New Zealand and Ireland before the World Cup, and England Women welcoming Sri Lanka. It’s also fantastic to see such a strong start to The Hundred, with strong ticket sales and fantastic viewing figures for the opening games.

“With the Metro Bank One Day Cup, the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and the LV= Insurance County Championship also still being fought out, there is much more cricket for fans to enjoy in the next couple of months.”

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