A significant step in the future of women’s cricket may be just round the corner as the International Cricket Council has announced it is considering selling the rights to women’s global competitions separately from the men’s.
Up until now the rights to women’s tournaments have been sold as part of package deals for those broadcasters who wish to purchase the men’s events, but given the recent global interest in the women’s game, the ICC are discussing the possibility of unbundling women’s cricket during the next cycle from 2023-2031.
Up until 2018 both the men’s and women’s editions of the T20 World Cup were played concurrently, but with the success of this year’s Women’s T20 World Cup in particular- which attracted a record crowd of 86,000 people at the MCG, there is no a genuine acknowledgement that women’s cricket can prosper on its own.
Manu Sawhney, the CEO of the ICC told the Telegraph “All of our data points over the last three years have shown us that fans are interested in women’s cricket. Our global market research shows that 70 per cent of our one billion plus fans want to see more women’s cricket.”
With 8 global women’s competitions during the proposed period- the same number as the men, there is a real opportunity for the ICC to capitalise on what is a rapidly growing market. Both football and rugby governing bodies have already acted in a similar vain, with broadcasters bidding for the specific matches they want to show.
Sawhney believes that if companies do decide to invest individually in women’s sport, and particularly cricket then the opportunity for further promotion and growth will naturally follow. Women’s cricket is clearly heading in the right direction and this could well be the start of something very special.
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