This article was last updated on September 23, 2022
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is thinking about inviting private ownership for the planned The Hundred cricket tournament franchisees.
The Hundred was originally conceptualized as the ECB owning all the teams. And as of now, all 8 teams in the league are under the ownership of the ECB, with the salaries of coaches and players borne by the governing body of English cricket. This concept is different from several other franchise T20 tournaments held around the globe, with emerging competitors in South Africa and the UAE, highlighting hefty private funding.
The Hundred is set to be among the most rewarding in terms of player earnings, but only after the Indian Premier League. Kevin Pietersen believes that if The Hundred wants to prove itself as one of the finest competitions in the cricketing world, then it must be equipped to compete with the rest in terms of finances also.
“The Hundred was quality,” he said. “Great crowds, great atmosphere, great cricket, and dramatic finale to the men’s final to top things off. There are still things that they need to sort out to keep growing the event, though.”
“I think private ownership needs to come into play as soon as possible. Now that the ECB have decided to move the Ashes to keep August clear in the calendar, they have a chance to make this huge. Private ownership would allow the money to go up, meaning that the best players prioritize this event and want to stay for the entirety.”
And Kevin Pietersen is not the first or the only one to advocate for private funding of The Hundred. The incoming chair of ECB, Richard Thompson, also recently embraced the idea. According to Thompson, “There’s a lot of private equity out there at the moment and it’s inevitable it will happen in English cricket. I’m expecting there to be some interest. I think we need to be strategic about the way we go about that.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board, as of now, only has a directive from the English counties for this ECB-owned league with a 100-ball innings format. As per reports, the ECB still might inaugurate The Hundred under its sole ownership, and later on, open the gates for private investments by selling shares or stakes of teams to create more funds.
Some major factors are influencing the ECB such as the rising expenses of launching The Hundred and the substantial marketing benefits that the private franchisees can possibly bring forth. As per the latest estimates, the overall expenses of launching The Hundred in 2020 are set to go over and above $52 million which is approximately £40 million!
The advantages of the private funding in The Hundred are not just about the initial earnings, but the entire influence it creates and the marketing costs incurred by the investors to reach out to a wider base of the population which would be somewhat limited otherwise.