NEW SPORT AND ENTERTAINMENT EVENT – THE HUNDRED – LAUNCHES IN STYLE

History was made this week as new sport and entertainment event The Hundred kicked off in style with fireworks and electric action both on-and-off the field. The women’s Oval Invincibles opened the show, beating Manchester Originals at the opening game on Wednesday evening. The dramatic five-wicket win came in front of the largest modern-day crowd for a women’s professional domestic cricket match in this country. Thursday saw the same fixture with the men’s team and a similar outcome – a thrilling nine-run win that left the London-based team living up to their name.

With the cricket off to a flying start, the entertainment off the pitch matched that on it, with British singer-songwriter Becky Hill headlining the opening game to complement The Hundred’s female line up. Jack Garratt then wowed the packed south London crowd the following evening on another sizzling summer evening.

The Hundred sees eight brand new city-based men’s and women’s teams featuring some of the best international and domestic cricketers competing in exciting 100-ball matches. With strong attendances at the Oval for both games and peak viewing of 1.95m for the women’s opener and 2.5m for the men’s game on Sky Sports and BBC, fans welcomed this new and exciting sporting format with open arms. On a mission to work towards gender parity in cricket, it was the first time a major team sport event in the UK has launched with a women’s match.

Dane van Niekerk, Oval Invincibles women’s captain said. “We’re thrilled to have won the opening game of The Hundred and on such a historic occasion for women’s sport – the atmosphere was electric. Seeing so many families and girls and boys in the home crowd really gave us all a boost, and we hope that more and more young people will feel inspired to get involved in cricket after seeing us play this summer.”

Sam Billings, Oval Invincibles men’s captain, spoke about what it meant to play in the opening men’s game of the new competition: “The crowd was absolutely on fire tonight and for our men’s and women’s teams to get off to winning ways – it caps off the perfect start to this exciting new competition. The format is fast, end to end and we could tell the crowd really took to that. I can’t wait to play again already!”

Jack Garratt, on a high after his set said, “What an atmosphere, it’s an incredible feeling to perform to a crowd like that once more, especially at the first ever The Hundred men’s match – it’s been a great evening!”

Music is at the heart of the fan experience of The Hundred with live acts and DJs at games. Jake Bugg will be performing at his local ground in Nottingham for the Trent Rockets game on 24 July, Lady Leshurr will be taking to the stage in her hometown for Birmingham Phoenix’s game on 1 August, Everything Everything will be gracing the stage for their local team at Manchester Originals on the 10 August and Jax Jones will be closing the competition at The Hundred Final at Lord’s in London on 21 August.

Designed to inspire more kids to pick up a bat and ball and open cricket’s doors to more people, this new, short format of cricket is perfect for the whole family. Tickets are great value for money and sales have exceeded expectations for the first year of the competition already, with 62% of general sales for under 45s, 42% under 35s, 19% kids’ tickets and 22% female buyers.

Sanjay Patel, Managing Director, The Hundred, said: “To have two thrilling, edge-of-your-seat matches with an incredible atmosphere across both games – we really couldn’t have asked for a better start to The Hundred. It’s clear we’re in for a thrilling few weeks.

“The Hundred is all about throwing cricket’s doors open for everyone, and the excitement and interest we’ve seen since our two opening games has been astonishing. A huge thank you to Sky and BBC for their ongoing support and commitment to making The Hundred accessible, aspirational and exciting. We’re only at the beginning with a lot of cricket and music to be played, so the hard work has just begun.”

With 66 matches to go, tickets are still available. Adult admission starts at £10, under 16s for just £5 and under-fives go for free. (Refund policies will be in place should matches be affected by Covid). You can purchase tickets here: thehundred.com

All games will be broadcast live on Sky Sports The Hundred Cricket channel. All women’s games (and some men’s) will also be available on Sky Sports free-to-access YouTube channel. The Hundred will also be covered extensively on the BBC including live television coverage of 10 men’s games and eight women’s matches on BBC2, as well across iPlayer, radio and online.

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