As consumer spend on sport trends downwards, the challenge for ECB as with all major National Governing Bodies is to invest in its grassroots and provide innovative new formats to trigger participation in non-club settings.
ECB is rising to this challenge - and not only wants to encourage brand new players to the game, but also to attract back players who have stopped playing for whatever reason.
Over the cycle of its current UK TV broadcasting contract (2010-2013), the ECB is committing expenditure into grassroots development that amounts to more than 30 per cent of its net UK TV broadcasting revenue.
ECB is also looking into shorter, well-organised fast-paced versions of the game to match the demand from our survey data such as ‘Last Man Stands’ and ‘Indoor Cricket Leagues’ to create an accessible, all year round offer.
ECB announced in December 2011 that, following the annual comprehensive survey of participation in community cricket, the club game had seen a five per cent increase in participation across all age groups.
The work of the Cricket Foundation through the award winning Chance to Shine programme has further introduced a total of 1.4 million children to cricket in schools.
This survey is the most comprehensive review of participation in cricket and reflects participation in all age groups. An independent audit endorsed the comprehensive nature of this survey.
ECB Chief Executive David Collier commented: "It is very rewarding that during difficult economic times there has been such a substantial increase in participation numbers. In our strategic plan we recognise that the current levels of participation, if they are to be sustained, require an increased investment in facilities and coaches.
"The £52 million of investment in 699 projects in the past year demonstrates ECB’s commitment to community sport. We further recognise that families are prioritising youth participation in sport during the difficult economic climate but we are seeking to expand both adult as well as youth programmes to support our club network.
"I warmly congratulate the Cricket Foundation on their outstanding work in engaging with a staggering 1.4 million schoolchildren.
"At a time when England are the leading nation in Test cricket, the women’s World Cup holders, the ICC World T20 champions and the leading Learning Disabilities team in the world the expansion in participation at both schools and clubs is wonderful news for our sport."
Other current key participation stats are as follows:
- Between 1 and 1.2m adult and children participants
- Government’s Active People survey: around 196,500 adults playing the game at least once a week; Male participation (at least once a week) – 180,400; Female participation (at least once a week) – 16,100; Non white participation (at least once a week) – 49,000
- ECBs latest Focus Club figures: 592,079 people participating – 345,171 of those are under 18 yrs old one a month
- Club Membership: 221,194, up 4 per cent on 2009
- Coaching Roles: 32,590, up seven per cent
- Volunteer Roles: 68,245, up 17 per cent
Chance to shine figures for 2010 show:
- Children Participating - 345,356
- Hours of Coaching - 71,699
- Matches Played - 29,255
- Schools Involved - 3,354