06 Oct

The England women’s cricket team’s 5-0 series victory over the West Indies in September was watched by a peak audience of one million viewers, according to figures reported by The Telegraph.

The Twenty20 (T20) matches had to be swiftly organised after South Africa and India pulled out of their respective tours of England due to Covid-19, but the five games still managed impressive audience figures across pay-TV network Sky Sports and public-service broadcaster the BBC.

The series achieved a total reach of two million, more than was recorded for England’s 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup final win, which was the most-watched women’s cricket match ever in the UK.

“I think it shows firstly that there’s an audience, a growing audience, which we knew but we probably didn’t expect quite such amazing viewing figures for the whole series,” said Clare Connor, the ECB’s women’s cricket director.

“The last game of full member women’s international cricket was played on International Women’s Day at the MCG in front of 87,000 people [at the T20 World Cup final], so I think that answers your questions as to why it really mattered that we had a month of international women’s cricket.

“For the visibility, for young talented girls who have just started on their playing journey to be able to see the England women’s team in action... there was lots of reasons why it was important we delivered that month of international women’s cricket and we’re absolutely delighted with the viewing figures.”

Meanwhile, ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has said that playing games behind closed doors this summer has saved English cricket from “financial oblivion”.

Both the England men’s and women’s teams were able to play series despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, while the truncated county season reached its conclusion on 4th October.

All international series were played in bio-secure bubbles, meaning the ECB could still pull in broadcasting revenue from the likes of Sky, it’s main domestic media rights partner.

“Being able to deliver on those broadcast commitments has frankly saved us from financial oblivion, and obviously not just us but the rest of the game too. It's as stark as that,” said Harrison.

However, the ECB believes that the pandemic has already cost the wider game more than UK£100 million this year, while the national governing body will be cutting 62 jobs in order to reduce costs.

“Right now, at the ECB, we are going through the painful process of becoming a smaller organisation coming out of this summer.”

John Stephenson


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