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Surrey accuse ECB of ‘bashing’ cricket to promote The Hundred

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Surrey have blocked the England and Wales Cricket Board from accessing their data on ticket sales after they deemed the governing body’s research, released to promote The Hundred, “out of context” and “bashing” of existing formats of the sport.

The ECB launched The Hundred’s website on Wednesday, May 15, along with the tournament’s official logo, the dates of the player draft, and their research findings, which said those who follow the sport in England are predominantly male (82%), white (94%) and affluent. They went on to suggest The Hundred, therefore, would be able to tap into previously untapped market.

However, according to the Evening Standard, Surrey have disputed those figures. “We queried with the ECB the accuracy of the numbers because they seemed to be inaccurate and out of context and not relative to The Hundred,” Richard Gould, the Surrey chief executive, was quoted as saying. “That is why we have provided some numbers, so it is clear we are providing a young, diverse audience.”

Surrey’s research of their T20 ticket sales, albeit on a smaller scale, showed that their audiences usually range between 25-34, with an average age of 38, that one in five ticket purchasers were women, and family tickets made up more than 20% of all tickets sold.

“There was frustration that the numbers used by the ECB seemed to be there to be critical of existing cricket and its fans in order to promote the idea for The Hundred,” Gould went on. “We immediately asked for clarity, and put this block on the ECB using our data for statistical purposes until we get clarity on how that data is going to be used going forward.

“We want to know it’s not going to be taken out of context or used inaccurately to bash existing forms of cricket when that is unjustified, in what is our biggest and most exciting summer ever. The Ashes and World Cup are going to be sell outs, our T20 sales are ahead of where they’ve ever been before.

“It would be inaccurate for the ECB to suggest that ticket sales are restricted to a small number of people. We have a very wide, diverse number of people watching cricket this year and that should be celebrated.”

However, despite sharing a tense relationship with the ECB, Gould said they were determined to make The Hundred a success. “When The Hundred happens we of course want to make a success of it, attracting big crowds, alongside all the other forms of cricket we play,” he said. “We are already working hard to achieve this, and we need to try and avoid these bumps in the road.”

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