The summer of cricket proved mixed crowds can improve the fan experience | Emma John


Emma John

It turns out that lowering the average testosterone levels of a sporting crowd really can make a difference

Cricket’s culture wars can call a truce. There is something traditionalists and progressives agree on, and rather surprisingly it’s about the Hundred. Now the all-important final scores are in – and we’re talking bums-on-seats and eyes-on-screen, not who hit most sixes or which weird-named franchise triumphed – there is consensus on a single, indisputable fact. The tournament was A Good Thing for women’s cricket.

For the hardcore sceptics, the grudging concession that the Hundred has been a gamechanger for women will not outweigh the collective trauma the competition has cost them. The undeniable benefits the women’s game has derived from the format – the increase in viewership, prestige, standards of pay and quality of play – are all very well, but they’ve still come at the cost of the future doom of the real game. What matters for the men matters most, because theirs is the Test arena, and theirs are the broadcasting millions, and theirs is the glory, for ever and ever, amen.

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