The ECB has announced the postponement of The Hundred, which will now go ahead in 2021.
The inaugural season of the new format includes eight city-based franchises featuring both a men’s and women’s team competing in a brand new short-form version of the sport and was due to take place in the summer of 2020.
A decision to move the tournament was taken by the ECB Board, who felt it was no longer possible to stage the competition this year due to the social distancing measure put in place but also because hosting the event behind closed doors ‘directly contradicts the competition’s goal to attract a broader audience through a unique event experience for viewers and spectators’.
"The situation we find ourselves in as a country means that delivery of The Hundred will not be possible this summer,” said Tom Harrison, CEO, ECB. “Whilst we are naturally disappointed that we won't get to realise our ambitions this year, The Hundred will go ahead in 2021 when we are safely able to deliver everything we intended to help grow the game.”
"As we emerge from the fallout of COVID-19, there will be an even greater need for The Hundred. Our survival as a game, long-term, will be dependent on our ability to recover financially and continue our ambition to build on cricket's growing fan base. That need has not gone anyway, if anything, it is now more critical.
"The Hundred will create millions in revenues for the game, through hosting fees, hospitality and ticket sales, as well as delivering £25m in annual financial distributions to all First Class Counties and MCC. Its role in driving participation alongside supporting the development of the women’s game will be material in generating take-up of our game across country-wide communities.
"The Hundred is an important element of the game's Inspiring Generations strategy, which has been debated and agreed upon across the whole game. While financially, our plans may be impacted, our ambition, ‘to inspire a generation’ should in no way be diluted.
"We would like to thank our broadcast partners, for their extraordinary commitment and support to get The Hundred to this point and our commercial partners for their ongoing support. We very much look forward to working with them as we build to the 2021 launch."
The ECB says the competition will begin in 2021 with a renewed effort across four key areas, including engaging a broader audience; driving participation with the support of broadcast partners Sky Sport and the BBC; delivering revenues for counties and developing new young talent.