The ECB has claimed that initial sales for the Hundred have “surpassed expectations”, with an initial allocation of men’s Finals Day tickets selling out within 24 hours of the priority window opening on Wednesday.
Around 75,000 tickets were sold in the 24 hours after that window opened, on top of the 25,000 that had been purchased by county and MCC members in an earlier priority period. An ECB press release pointed to the fact that over two thirds of tickets were sold to under-45s, in an attempt to demonstrate that the new competition has succeeded in appealing to a younger audience.
There are limited tickets available for the Hundred’s opening game between Oval Invincibles and Welsh Fire at The Oval, while season-ticket packages have sold out at Lord’s. A handful of season tickets remain available for The Oval.
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ECB chairman Colin Graves suggested in December that an occupancy rate of 60-65% was the minimum expectation, and that anything above that mark would represent a success for the competition. The governing body has previously denied downplaying attendances at the T20 Blast, the existing short-form tournament contested by the 18 counties, and tickets for that competition go on sale at the start of March.
While it seems that there will be few problems shifting tickets at the London grounds, games elsewhere could be a harder sell. As reported by ESPNcricinfo, some venues fear that the decision to stage games on every day of the week could cause them problems, although ticket prices are generally lower for games on Mondays and Tuesdays.
To take Cardiff as an example, Glamorgan’s seven games at the venue in last summer’s T20 Blast attracted a total attendance of 31,266 – an average of 4,467 at a 16,000-seat stadium – and while the county stressed that clashes with other sporting fixtures in the city and poor weather had affected their crowds, the fact that Welsh Fire’s men’s side will play two home games on Sunday evenings and another on a Tuesday is a cause for concern.
The most expensive ticket for a men’s game at Cardiff is currently £22. Men’s fixtures at Lord’s and The Oval are the costliest, with the most expensive tickets currently priced at £35. That figure will rise after April 22. Tickets for children aged 6-15 are £5 each, while children under five are free with an adult. All standalone women’s fixtures have a maximum ticket price of £10.
“We are pleased the competition has been met so positively by sports fans,” Sanjay Patel, the Hundred’s managing director, said. “Our ambition is always to grow cricket and bring new audiences into the game.
“Our priority will now be in managing the strong demand for tickets alongside our desire to see large numbers of young families attending. Despite a busy summer sport schedule, the Hundred is clearly being viewed as an unmissable summer event.”
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