01 Sep

The second T20 between England and Pakistan on Sunday (30 August), the first live cricket on BBC television for 21 years, was watched by a peak of 2.8 million viewers.

England’s thrilling run chase to give them a five-wicket victory at Emirates Old Trafford was the first live cricket televised by the corporation since the 1999 World Cup. An average of 1.7 million viewers tuned in during the four-hour programme.

That is perhaps fewer than had been hoped as the ECB tries to appeal to a new audience of cricket viewers and is considerably less than the 4.5 million who watched last year’s World Cup final on Channel 4.

In mitigation England were missing their biggest names for the match — Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Joe Root were not involved — it was being played on a Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon when many people will have been out, and Pakistan perhaps do not have the same mass appeal to casual cricket fans that Australia do.

However, 2.8 million compares well to the figures for the first football match on the BBC since 1998 which took place on June 20 between Bournemouth and Crystal Palace attracted a peak of 3.9 million viewers.

As part of a new five-year broadcasting deal, the BBC has the rights to two T20 men’s international matches each summer as well as some women’s games and ten live matches in the new competition, The Hundred, which has been rescheduled to begin in summer 2021.

The BBC and ECB will analyse the demographic of the viewers to look at whether it attracted non-traditional cricket watching audiences and will be hoping that the next live match aired by the corporation, the T20 match between England and Australia on Sunday September 6, will attract a higher audience, given that most families will have returned from summer holidays.

John Stephenson


#Cricketnews #BBC 

* The email will not be published on the website.