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ECB chief: 'Unforgettable summer of cricket' a once-in-a-generation opportunity for sport

By Tom Walker    18 Sep 2019
ECB chief exec Tom Harrison said the heightened profile of cricket should be used to inspire future fans and players

A memorable summer of international cricket for England concluded on 15 September with the men's team securing victory in the final Ashes Test to claim a 2-2 series draw against Australia.

The Ashes series caps a remarkable summer that saw England win the men’s ICC World Cup final at Lord’s on 14 July. The drama of a Super Over in the final captured the attention of a nation and led to widespread media coverage of the sport.

The achievements of the likes of all-rounder Ben Stokes and fast bowler Jofra Archer turned them into national heroes – and role models for young, aspiring cricketers.

There has already been a trickle-down effect. The Vitality Blast – the T20 competition for English counties – has seen a 15 per cent uplift in average group-stage attendances from last year’s record high and set a record for advanced sales of 659,000.

The opening week of the tournament, which began four days after the men’s World Cup final, saw a record 65,000 advanced tickets sold in a single week – eclipsing the previous record of 44,000.

Match attendances at cricket have not been the only areas to see positive uplift this year.

More than one million young people aged 5-12 were engaged with the men’s World Cup through initiatives including Cricket World Cup Club Family Days, the Cricket World Cup Schools Programme and fan zone activations.

According to the Tom Harrison, CEO of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the sustained interest during the World Cup – and the men’s and women’s Ashes – there is now a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to inspire future fans and players to grow the game.

“This has been an unforgettable summer of cricket that has elevated the profile of our sport to amazing heights," Harrison said.

“The heroes from the last few months have become household names thanks to their World Cup and Ashes exploits, our County Game has enjoyed a strong summer, and we can now capitalise on heightened interest and consideration of cricket.

“It is the ECB’s priority to ensure new fans to cricket convert their interest into a long-term enjoyment of the sport while growing the game’s appeal to core fans.

“Through ‘Inspiring Generations’ we have strategically mapped a course to achieve that ambition which includes doubling participation in primary schools, transforming the women’s and girls’ game and through our plan to improve access – which will give more people the opportunity to engage with cricket across all touchpoints."

ECB  cricket  Tom Harrison  Ashes  World Cup 
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