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Blog: “The Hundred has created special experiences for fans and players, and it has started inspiring kids to pick up a bat and ball.”

Managing Director of The Hundred, Sanjay Patel, reflects on the first year of the competition.

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Blog: “The Hundred has created special experiences for fans and players, and it has started inspiring kids to pick up a bat and ball.”

A young fan enjoying The Hundred

It’s difficult to believe now that it’s four years since the idea of The Hundred was born to help us grow cricket and inspire more people to pick up a bat and ball. What a journey it’s been. There have been significant challenges along the way, not least in Covid forcing us to delay our launch by a year, but after four and half weeks of full stadia and thrilling action, it feels like it has been worth it.

For the past four and a half weeks I’ve been traversing England and Wales, experiencing almost every game. It’s been a truly special time, and made a huge impact on our game.

It has lit up lives in a time where people have needed some fun, it has created special experiences for fans and players, and it has started inspiring kids to pick up a bat and ball. It’s only the start, and there’s a lot more hard work to do, but I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far.

Over 16m people have watched The Hundred (57% of them not having watched any other live English cricket this year), we have sold over 510k tickets with 19% of them kids, 21% of buyers being female and 59% under 45. To engage younger people we need to reach people digitally as well, and we’ve had 34.3 million video views and 264,000 downloads of The Hundred app.

The response to the competition in its launch year has exceeded our expectations. I would like to thank Sky, BBC, all our commercial partners, our agency partners, the venues, players and everyone who has worked on The Hundred to make it a truly special tournament. Special mention must go to The Hundred team who have worked incredibly hard and have been dedicated, resilient and talented to make the competition the success it has been. I cannot tell you how proud I am of that team and the people around me.

The opening women’s game will stay in my memory forever. It was everything we had hoped for and more. An exciting finish, a record breaking crowd for a women’s domestic game and 1.9m people watching on TV. Alice Capsey at the age of 16 scoring a 50 at Lords in front of 12,000 people was remarkable. It was an honour to watch Jemimah Rodrigues set the competition alight with a gem of an innings to notch up the joint highest individual score. Seeing thousands of people turning up to watch and support the women’s teams shows how The Hundred has been transformational for women’s cricket and for women’s sport.

The men’s competition has been full of outstanding cricket and brilliant moments too. I have really enjoyed the emergence of some great young talent. Young players like Chris Benjamin and Calvin Harrison weren't even playing professional cricket last year, but have been stars of the competition. Harry Brook is showing how much potential he has to play on the big stage. The older guard of James Vince, Tymal Mills and Imran Tahir have reminded everyone how good they are. Going from sell out to sell out around the country with grounds full of atmosphere and people enjoying the cricket and entertainment has made this competition.

But my stand outs from this competition have been the stories we’ve heard – often on social media - of people falling in love with The Hundred, many of whom have never watched cricket before; the children in stadiums with team colours dancing to the DJ, supporting their team; and the fact we’ve seen more children playing the game in August thanks to the opportunities we’ve been able to create alongside this competition. That is what The Hundred is all about. If we can get more people playing the game, that’s good for the whole of the game because these can be the county or Test stars of the future.

As I said before, there’s a long way to go. The Hundred has four core objectives – bringing more people into the game, showcasing top quality cricket, getting more children picking up a bat and ball, and bringing important revenue into the game. We’ve delivered on all of those this year but we can’t be complacent – we must continue to show these new fans that cricket really is a sport for them.

For now, it’s time to take stock of this year and look at how we can make The Hundred even better when we return next year. Until then, thanks for the support and memories. It’s been great to see how the competition has captured the imagination of millions of people, and demonstrate how it will help grow cricket.

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