The Hundred 2022 (Photo Source: Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have reached out to IPL franchises, private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds seeking investment in ‘The Hundred’ and wants counties to reach a decision on the future of the tournament in early 2024.
The existing model of the Hundred features eight clubs which are owned entirely by the ECB and have both men’s and women’s teams. In the first three seasons, the clubs were run by boards consisting of county representatives and independent directors.
According to a report in ESPNCricinfo, the ECB and the County Cricket Boards have been discussing the new model ever since the end of the 2023 season and are expected to reach a decision in April 2024 following a three-part consultation period. That will give them enough time to implement changes for the 2025 edition of the tournament.
ECB is looking to open the tournament up to private investors seeing it as a pathway to bring money into English cricket. Guy Lavender and Bruce Carnegie-Brown, MCC’s chief executive and chair, reportedly told members in a meeting on Monday, December 04 that the ECB is in talks with a wide range of potential sources of capital including IPL franchise owners, private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds.
MCC also asked members to discuss which potential investors with whom they would be comfortable to forge a partnership. On the other hand, ECB is planning to bring several changes to the Hundred such as the addition of two new teams and turning the clubs into franchises where a 50% stake will be given to their primary host counties.
Change in the tournament’s model will need three-quarters majority
Furthermore, they’re also contemplating an 18-team ‘open pyramid’ structure where a second division of the ‘The Hundred’ will be added and teams will be promoted and relegated. There are also widespread discussions to increase the salaries in the tournament to attract the biggest stars in the cricketing world.
Notably, the tournament will run for at least five more years as per Sky Sports’ broadcast deal with the ECB and the English board is trying its best to attract more crowd by bringing changes to its setup. Any change in the Hundred’s model will need a three-quarters majority amongst the 18 first-class counties and MCC, and proposals remain at a relatively early stage.