On Thursday, The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced to postpone the launch of the ‘The Hundred’ to next year in summer 2021. The Hundred is a 100 ball cricket tournament organised by ECB.
The reason behind this postponement is mainly because of operational challenges as the country is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, it can’t be organised behind the closed door as the primary aim of The Hundred was to attract new generation cricket, which cannot be achieved without a stadium audience.
It outlined several reasons for the decision, including:
- Operational challenges caused by social distancing, alongside ongoing global travel restrictions, making the competition’s ambition to feature world-class players and coaches unattainable in 2020.
- A behind-closed-doors competition directly contradicts the competition’s goal to attract a broader audience through a unique event experience for viewers and spectators.
- With significant furloughing across the partnership network of 20 venues, the logistics of delivering a brand-new sporting event, without a tried-and-tested delivery plan, would be challenging.
ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison said, “The situation we find ourselves in as a country means that delivery of The Hundred will not be possible this summer. Whilst we are naturally disappointed that we won’t get to realise our ambitions this year, The Hundred will go ahead in 2021 when we can safely deliver everything we intended to help grow the game.”
“As we emerge from the fallout of COVID-19, there will be an even greater need for The Hundred. Our survival as a game, long-term, will depend on our ability to recover financially and continue our ambition to build on cricket’s growing fan base. That need has not gone anyway, it is now more critical.”
“The Hundred will create millions in revenues for the game, through hosting fees, hospitality and ticket sales, as well as delivering £25m in annual financial distributions to all First Class Counties and MCC. Its role in driving participation alongside supporting the development of the women’s game will be material in generating take-up of our game across country-wide communities.’’
“The Hundred is an important element of the game’s Inspiring Generations strategy, which has been debated and agreed upon across the whole game. While financially, it may impact our plans, our ambition, ‘to inspire a generation’ should in no way be diluted.’’
“We would like to thank our broadcast partners, for their extraordinary commitment and support to get The Hundred to this point and our commercial partners for their ongoing support. We very much look forward to working with them as we build to the 2021 launch.”