Sunday, January 19, 2020

ICC survey reveals over a billion fans

ESPN Cricinfo:–  T20 will continue to be used as cricket’s primary vehicle for global growth, meaning that for all the continuing and polarising debate surrounding the 50-over World Cup, the 10-team format is not being expanded anytime soon.

The ICC reaffirmed this even as they make public the results of a first, comprehensive global market research, one it hopes will guide them in growing the game further. The research threw up some eye-catching figures: over one billion fans; nearly 300 million participants; and nearly 40% of all fans being female.

The survey was carried out in the 12 Full Member countries, and China and the USA – the latter two because they’ve been identified as non-traditional markets with huge potential for growth.

That growth, however, will be channelled through the shortest format. The survey did not ask fans direct questions on what they thought about the size of the 50-over World Cup, and neither was it carried out in major Associate Member countries.

“We’ve dealt with this point on a number of occasions, but the point is we’re using the T20 format to grow the game,” David Richardson, the ICC CEO, said. “Seventy-five* per cent of our members only play T20 cricket. Therefore if we want to grow the sport and grow the number of participants and fans, T20 is the format to do it. The research does show that fans still love Test cricket and can’t forget about it, but the way to grow the sport is through T20 and not the World Cup.”

Though the issue has never really gone away, it has re-gathered momentum in recent months because of the World Cup Qualifiers in March, and Scotland’s recent upset of England, the world’s top-ranked ODI side. For now, both the 2019 and 2023 World Cups will be 10-team tournaments.

As such, the survey used data from the 14 countries to extrapolate figures from Associate countries – though Richardson did leave the possibility open that there could be an expansion in the number of countries they do direct surveys in in the future.

According to the ICC, research showed their events are still the most popular among fans around the world, ahead of bilateral cricket and even domestic T20 leagues. Ninety-five per cent of fans said they were interested or very interested in the 50-over World Cup and the World T20.

The report could be made public during the ICC’s annual conference that starts later this week in Dublin.

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