The Hundred opener draws record TV audience for UK women's cricket match

22 Jul 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

The Hundred's opening match -  the first game of the women's competition between Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals - drew a peak audience of 1.95 million across both BBC Two, Sky Sports Cricket, Main Event and Mix, with more than 180,000 streams on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport's online channels.

Some 1.6 million of the TV views came from those watching on BBC Two, which the broadcaster has confirmed is a record for a women's cricket match on its network. The figures beat the previous most watched women’s cricket match in the country – the third England IT20 against India last week, which attracted a peak audience of 1.24 million.

The ECB, meanwhile, sys the coverage across all channels reached more than 3.8 million people who watched at least three minutes, with 'nearly 35% of viewers being female'. 

Sanjay Patel, Managing Director, The Hundred, previously told Sport Industry Group that while he was cautious about the women's competition being an 'overnight success', it had already been a success in terms of raising the profile of women's sport.

However, after record-breaking figures for the opening game, Patel said: "We couldn’t have asked for a better start to The Hundred – a thrilling match which went down to the wire, a brilliant atmosphere inside the crowd with lots of families and children, and record figures watching at home.

“The Hundred is all about throwing cricket’s doors open for everyone, and the response to last night’s game has been remarkable. We know this is only the first game and there is a still a lot of hard work ahead. We’re grateful to Sky for their long-term support for English cricket and especially The Hundred and are excited by the partnership with them and the BBC helping us to reach a broader audience.”

This week's YouGov Sport Stat of the Week, meanwhile, identified a lack of media coverage as the main reason why the UK public watches less women's sport than men's followed by lack of knowledge about the players, and limited marketing. Just 12%, meawhile, said they watched less because games were 'less physical'.