The second edition of England and Wales Cricket Board’s game changing franchise contest has suffered a major blow in form of a one-fifth decrease in BBC Television viewing figures, the Telegraph has reported.
While the inaugural season of the competition was viewed by an average of 615,000 people of UK’s national broadcast network, the figures have slumped down to over 500,000 in 2022.
The final 3⃣ are locked in.
— The Hundred (@thehundred) September 1, 2022
Given that the coverage of the tournament is also shared by Sky Sports, whose paid-for service viewing figures haven’t been disclosed, an assessment of the overall difference in terms of television audience isn’t possible at the moment. The shared streaming decision has been a result of the continuous criticism of the ECB over broadcasting the sport behind the paid wall of Sky.
A significant decrease in the BBC numbers was seen in terms of the people who switched on for the opening game of the season. While 1.6 million people had tuned in for the opening match of the women’s tournament between Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals last year, the figures fell down to less than half with only 550,000 people having watched this year’s opener between Southern Brave and the Welsh Fire.
In an interview with the British daily, Tom Harrington, an analyst at Enders Analysis, said, “Maybe up to half of that decrease you could put down to general decline in television viewing, while the rest would be due to some combination of fixture quality, competition in slots and loss of interest in the event itself.”
Even though the BBC viewership figures has taken a hit, ticket sales have still looked on course with most of the venues going full in the second edition of competition.
With just two games including the finals remaining in the men’s and women’s Hundred contest this year, the big games are expected to attract more viewers, but it seems unlikely that it would overtake last year’s numbers.