For a majority ownership in The Hundred, the England and Wales Cricket Board has received a £400 million private equity proposal, which may change the course of the game.
According to Sky News, the Bridgepoint Group, a London listed buyout firm, has made an offer for 75% of the sport’s newest tournament. The deal includes a financial boost for the board, as well as the 18 first-class counties.
What is The Hundred?
The Hundred is the shortest version of cricket played in this country, where each team only receives 100 balls, making an over consist of five rather than six. Cricket played in The Hundred is not only played differently to traditional cricket but looks very different too. Many teams play in multi-coloured kits that are each sponsored by a different type of savoury snack. KP Snacks made these kits possible and have transformed the traditional white kits normally donned in the UK.
What does this mean for the sport?
If the agreement were to move forward, each of the 18 counties that make up the domestic backbone of the sport would get a sizeable sum of money at a time when many of them are experiencing worsening financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, it’s likely that county chairs will accept the offer.
However, rumours are that this offer is unlikely to be accepted overall. This is because the ECB want to remain in control of the sport, especially as The Hundred has seen great success throughout the first two summers. Over 500,000 spectators watched matches during the 2022 campaign, with a record 271,000 watching women’s matches, not only that, the tournament peaked at over 14 million viewers!
Although Bridgepoint has a long history of investing in sport with previous ownership of MotoGp and Infront, this £400 million deal may not be the best move for English Cricket if they want to remain in control of the sports future. We’re looking forward to seeing how this one plays out!