Last updated on May 10th, 2023 at 02:39 PM
According to a recent report by the ECB, the state of cricket in England and Wales is thriving, with an increase in fans, players, match attendance and TV viewership over recent years.
The data was shared at the ECB’s Annual General Meeting, held at Emirates Old Trafford, and the key findings show positive growth in various areas.
The report states that approximately 13 million people describe themselves as fans of cricket, with 11.8 million adults and 1.2 million children among them. Furthermore, the number of people playing, attending or following cricket has increased by 1.5 million since the launch of the ECB’s Inspiring Generations strategy in 2020.
Despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, the total attendance at cricket matches has bounced back, reaching 2.9 million in 2022, which is the second-highest annual attendance on record, and the highest ever when excluding global events such as the 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
Moreover, up to 2.6 million people played cricket in 2022, including 1.4 million players under 16. Children’s participation in cricket has been boosted by the ECB’s national programmes to introduce the game to new players, All Stars Cricket and Dynamos Cricket, which welcomed over 100,000 participants for the second year in a row in 2022.
The number of Women’s and Girls’ fixtures has reached a record 20,577 in 2022, which is almost twice the previous year’s total of 10,603. There were 220 Women’s and Girls’ leagues, up from 152 in 2021, following growth of over 50% since 2019 in the number of cricket clubs with a Women’s section and/or a Girls’ section. Currently, 1,079 clubs have a Women’s section, while 755 have a Girls’ section, up from 744 and 465, respectively, in 2019.
TV viewership has also increased, with nine million viewers watching cricket at least twice in 2022, which is almost 20% more than in 2019. Although the number of viewers was down 13% from 2021 due to the crowded sporting calendar of summer 2022, with an early start to football’s Premier League and the Commonwealth Games and Women’s Euros competing for attention.
In addition, there has been a significant increase in diversity within governance across the game. Of the 544 Board Members across County organizations, 188 directors are female, which is a significant increase from 11% in 2019.
Moreover, 99 Board Members are ethnically diverse, which is an increase from 5% in 2019. Over 70 new Non-Executive Directors have been appointed across County organizations through a partnership with executive search specialists Perrett Laver.
ECB Chief Executive Officer, Richard Gould, acknowledged the hard work and dedication of those in the cricket network that has led to the positive growth in fans, players, attendance, and TV viewership.
He also acknowledged that there are still challenges ahead, particularly in making cricket more inclusive, diverse, and equitable. However, with strong foundations and an exciting summer ahead for England teams, there is a huge opportunity to grow the game and deliver an even greater impact in communities across England and Wales.
The ECB’s Financial Statements for the year ending January 31, 2023, were also published, these show that turnover increased to £334m (from £303m the year before), while inflation and additional costs of delivering the game-wide 12-point plan contributed to a rise in expenditure (£315m, up from £282m the previous year) the Group returned a profit after taxation of £13.4m, down from £21.4m the year before. Group reserves increased to £35.4m, up from £23.0m the year before.
The appointments to the ECB Board of six new Non-Executive Directors – Pete Ackerley, Penny Avis, Baroness Zahida Manzoor CBE, Jennifer Owen Adams, Ebony Rainford-Brent MBE and Gareth Williams – were also ratified at today’s meeting.