With less than 50 days to go until the 2019 Cricket World Cup the countdown to One Day International cricket’s premier tournament is well and truly on. The quadrennial event is set to be hosted in England and Wales for the first time in 20 years and the trophy tour is already well underway, having begun following the conversion of Nelson’s Column in London’s Trafalgar Square into a giant set of cricket wickets to mark 100 days to go until the opening match.
As the tournament’s 12th edition returns to the birthplace of the sport, we explore what we’re most looking forward to and how the 2019 Cricket World Cup is positioned to be the greatest to date. I, for one, am taking a similar stance to ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison in being “giddy with excitement” while Ashley Giles, England’s new director of cricket, believes a host win would be of a similar stature to the famous Ashes victory of 2005.
More Global Than Ever
Prior to the 100-day trophy tour around the UK, the tournament trophy embarked on a nine-month global tour. Beginning at the ICC’s headquarters in Dubai, the tour covered five continents, 21 countries and over 60 cities. Labelled as “the most connected Trophy Tour ever” and, thanks to the ICC’s partnership with Nissan, the first to be facilitated by an all-electric vehicle, fans around the globe were offered the chance to connect with the tournament.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson applauded the opportunity to expand the reach of the game:
“Cricket has more than a billion fans and taking the trophy to new markets is a wonderful chance to raise the profile of the game and engage both new and existing fans.”
The resounding global appeal and growth of the sport was further highlighted by initial reports of 2.9 million tickets being applied for in the opening ballot phases, an unprecedented number for the tournament.
Rejuvenation of UK Cricket
While the T20 Blast tournament remains a quiet success, with aggregate figures of 931,000 match attendees in 2018, for better or worse the hot topic remains to be The Hundred and with the eyes of the cricketing world upon the nation what better chance is there to promote England’s take on the ever popular (IPL) Indian Premier League.
While the new tournament may not be the complete solution to issues caused by the lack of cricket on free-to-air TV, the desired glamour and excitement surrounding the event aims to reinvigorate the sport and attract fresh, new audiences across the country in a similar manner to the now 12-year old IPL. With a best-in-class organising committee ensuring engagement across all age groups throughout the World Cup and further inspired by the prospect of a first win for the home nation, The Hundred’s launch in 2020 could not be coming at a better time.
ECB CEO Tom Harrison has already confirmed that The Hundred has helped secure “vital new partnerships and substantial broadcast revenues.” Not only does this represent a huge opportunity for the ECB’s new model to differentiate itself from existing forms of the game and expand their traditional audience to meet their game-wide strategy for 2020-24 - Inspiring Generations, but it offers brands the opportunity to take advantage of a wider audience demographic.
How the 100-ball innings and change of ends after 10 balls will be reflected in-game is yet to be seen, but these additions coupled with extended 25-ball powerplays will hopefully excite a younger and more diverse audience whose previous perceptions of the game may have leant towards the dreaded ‘boring’ tag – some have even referred to it as ‘male, pale and stale’.
Come on England!
Cricket World Cup 2019 is set to be quite the spectacle, accessible, colourful and fun – the world’s greatest cricket celebration. If initial ticket reports are to be believed it is set to be the most watched and attended tournament to date, which we hope will connect, entertain and inspire a new fanbase. At Mallory Group, we are gunning for England’s first World Cup win and hopefully the heightened interest in the game at all levels, and with new audiences, that will support the future commercial growth of the sport.
We are also looking forward to revealing our PR activation on behalf of Cricket World Cup 2019 around the first match in Cardiff, but we can’t tell you any more about that quite yet!
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