The men’s Ashes – a supposedly slow-burn, declining form of cricket – is breaking viewership records, somehow grasping fans’ attention in the attention economy. It is doing so because it exemplifies the key components of an outstanding sporting product:
- Connection: England vs. Australia is a 150-year-old sporting rivalry. That brings narrative and meaning, even for the most casual viewer.
- Quality: this series features 50% of the world’s top 10 test batters and bowlers. And for fans that don’t usually care about 5-day cricket, they recognise the quality of team captains Stokes and Cummins, who have previously received two of the largest IPL deals in history.
- Jeopardy: the winning margins in each of the three games have been in the top 5% of closest Ashes matches. At Leeds, no Ashes match in history has seen a faster rate of both runs and wickets, as excitement was sustained over the entire game.