In the world of competition structure, perhaps the biggest success story of the year was The Hundred, English cricket’s attempt at enlivening its domestic product. It ultimately delivered on all the key elements that are required to deliver compelling sport: high-quality action with elite players, jeopardy with no outcome guaranteed, and connection that meant fans cared about the results.
Cricket has historically been a sport for the traditionalists. The game’s existing audience was secured when there were fewer forms of entertainment competing for their attention, meaning cricket’s traditionally sedate pace was advantageous. No longer.
The need for change arose from the desire (or necessity) to better serve a new, younger and more diverse audience who have found traditional forms of cricket increasingly unappealing. Post-mortems of The Hundred have generally been kind – rightfully – but have tended to focus on the razzmatazz of the marketing rather than the cricket itself.
At Twenty First Group we recognise the need to effectively market competitions, but believe that success over the long term is ultimately dependent on the quality of the sporting product. In short, regardless of your commercial capabilities, the cricket itself still needs to be captivating. We assess sporting products against their ability to deliver high quality sport, moments of jeopardy and a connection to as wide an audience as possible. And while valid questions remain around The Hundred’s role and impact in the wider ecosystem of English cricket, when assessed on its ability to deliver quality, jeopardy and connection to fans, it’s clear from our analysis that The Hundred delivered.