The Hundred is not going to be a big deal, people aren’t going to talk about it and it won’t attract a new audience

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T20 Blast Finals Day (ECB)

Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer. After that, build a whole stupid thing around the stupid answer and then pin all of your hopes for the survival of your sport on how well the stupid thing fares.

The ECB are going to launch this 100-ball competition and they don’t give a shit that pretty much every existing cricket fan thinks it’s a bad idea. This is because they’re after a “new audience”.

Over at Wisden, we’re saying that this stance is moronic and completely misses the point about how people latch onto a sport in the first place.

Pondering how to attract a new audience, the ECB asked people who don’t like cricket what they would like to see. These people entirely unsurprisingly told them that they would like to see something that differs from the sport that they don’t currently like.

They have asked people who don’t understand cricket to identify cricket’s flaws and make it better. These people don’t profess to be expert sport designers, but their collective voice has given rise to something new anyway.

Surely a smarter way of going about things would have been to ask existing fans how they first came to the sport. These are the people who have gone from not liking cricket to liking it, after all. They therefore provide some sort of template for how people are typically won over. Identify the themes and you can maybe identify areas where you could be doing better.

A few weeks ago we asked people on Twitter how they were won over. Pretty much everybody was influenced by friends or family. That’s how people get hooked – through their interactions with other people.

Even if there was one defining moment that finally tipped the balance, they’d normally been worn down by the sport for a long time beforehand. Maybe they always heard it on the radio. Maybe they played in the back yard with a parent. Free-to-air coverage may well have played a part, but seeing the action alone is not enough.

If you’re immersed in a cricket environment, you’ll probably get into cricket. That’s generally the way it works. A cricket environment is not just what’s on the telly, it’s what people around you are talking about. The conversation matters. Get enough people talking about something and it becomes a big deal and when something’s a big deal, it makes headlines.

If existing fans hate a tournament, they aren’t going to enthuse about it and if existing fans aren’t enthusing about it, that oh-so-vital conversation is stillborn.

Here’s the link to the Wisden piece again.


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  1. The hundred might have unintended consequences of making england the T20 champions

    today in T20 teams are yet to come up with proper par score
    for example, is 220 all out in 18 overs, a good or bad score in T20 cricket?

    By restricting to 16 overs, it will help teams understand the runs/wickets equations , the trade offs & consequences involved in not utilizing the full 20 overs and thus give a better idea of the par score in a T20 match and the strategies to be adopted to acheive that par score

      1. I would be pretty happy with 300 off 16.4 overs. I would expect to have a fighting chance of defending that.

    1. England were certainly able to leverage their Pro40 skillset (leadership, challenge, process) in World Cup situations.

  2. I agree with most of this, but I think the simple fact of it being on free-to-air TV is going to make some people aware of it, who will then ask ‘cricket fans’ about it and then potentially either be introduced to other forms of the game or perhaps just become casual couple-of-limited-overs-games-a-year fans that will get more into it the next time there’s a close Ashes series.

    In terms of who people become fans : there’s a former colleague of mine who I tried to take to Old Trafford several times but only managed, through a combination of rain, reluctance and scheduling, to see one game. It was a Roses T20, the right team one, but he was only mildly enthused. He then went to work in India for a few weeks, and came back talking about Pune Warriors fringe players.

    I also have a colleague who (despite enjoying baseball) falls into the ‘cricket is boring’ camp, and I couldn’t even entice to a T20 game, but has recently started taking an interest because one of his kids has started playing, leading to discussions about Nasser Hussain’s conversion from a teenage spin prodigy to a batting specialist.

    So in summary, different strokes for different folks/blokes/Woakes/Stokes/Foakes/deliveries

    1. Yes, if it’s prominent, the thing being on free-to-air should encourage some casual viewers to speak to cricket fans. It’s an important element. We just think they could do a better job of making it A Big Deal (England players won’t be involved either.)

      It’ll also be interesting to see how many cricket fans just watch the thing anyway, even if they’d have preferred something else. Guess they’re banking on that to some degree.

  3. I’m hoping, like Brexit, there’s a very slim chance it will never happen. Reality used to be a friend of mine.

  4. The more I think about this new tournament the more bonkers it seems to me.

    Here is a link to an article about the stuff Daisy and I did on Friday. It has nothing whatever to do with cricket…

    …so anyone reading this website who wasn’t into cricket before might just become enthused about cricket by reading material on something utterly other…

    …or it might raise a smile amongst KC’s regular, serendipitous readers:

  5. Pretty much everybody was influenced by friends or family.

    Kids get in free in the summer holidays.

    You’re welcome. Can I have my fee now please?

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