England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison has revealed the coronavirus outbreak could cost the organisation 380m pounds and revealed its cruel impact of the innovative Hundred tournament.
The ECB boss spoke to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee on Tuesday to outline the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sport which has forced the postponement of international and domestic cricket.
Among those postponements was the launch of the inaugural season of The Hundred, which was the ECB’s answer to Australia’s Big Bash League or the Indian Premier League, as a way to take the sport forward by engaging new audiences.
Harrison outlined that the outbreak meant they’d lost up to around 800 days of cricket, which would equate to 380m pounds in revenue at a worst-case scenario.
The timing of the pandemic has been cruel on the ECB who’ve long struggled to find a short-form competition which has garnered interest, but Harrison said The Hundred had been tracking excellently until its postponement.
“In terms of the position we put ourselves in for The Hundred, right at the moment COVID-19 struck, we were in a very, very strong place,” he said.
“The game had never sold that number of tickets at that speed before, with the exception of the Cricket World Cup.
“The profile of ticket buyers was extremely encouraging. Young adults and parents coming with their children. Doing exactly the job we wanted it to do.
“There was a huge amount of momentum building around The Hundred which we will carry into next year when we will renew our ambition to continue to grow the game in a post-COVID scenario.”
The ECB is still in discussions with the West Indies Cricket Board about re-scheduling their Test tour, which was to take place in June, with a series behind closed doors in July floated.