ICC reaps reward of investment in Women’s World Cup

The International Cricket Council has hailed a major uplift in broadcast and digital performance for the recently completed 2017 Women’s World Cup, stating the figures justify its enhanced investment in the event.

Heading into the tournament, which took place in England and Wales from June 24 to July 23, the ICC announced a tenfold increase in prize money, along with unprecedented broadcast plans for the national team tournament, as part of efforts to bring gender parity to the sport.

Prize money rose from $200,000 (€172,000) for the 2013 event in India to $2m. For the first time in the history of the Women’s World Cup, this year’s tournament also saw every ball of every game covered live.

As part of the coverage plan for the eight-team tournament, 10 matches were broadcast live on television with the Decision Review System being introduced into the women’s game for the first time and the remaining 21 matches live-streamed.

The ICC today (Thursday) said more than 180 million people around the world are estimated to have watched the World Cup, adding there was an almost 300 per cent increase in viewing hours in comparison to the last edition in 2013.

The ICC said 156 million people viewed the event in India, of which 80 million was rural reach and 126 million was for the final alone. The Indian team’s performances contributed to a 500 per cent increase in viewing hours in their country.

In the UK, the World Cup final attracted the most viewers for any televised cricket this summer, while the entire event saw a 300 per cent increase in terms of viewing hours compared to last time out. There was a 131 per cent increase in viewing hours in Australia, while in South Africa this figure was 861 per cent after its team reached the semi-finals for the first time.

There were 100 million video views across ICC digital platforms and social media channels with one billion impressions and 67 million unique users on social media platform Facebook via posts on ICC’s official pages – @cricketworldcup and @icc.

ICC chief executive David Richardson said: “Instinctively we felt that the time was right to invest in women’s cricket and take it to the widest possible audience to accelerate the growth of the game and these numbers have confirmed that.

“We congratulate all eight teams for providing the entertainment, the cricket was competitive and compelling and when you have that it makes it much easier to attract an audience. The sport must now work collectively to maintain interest and continue to drive growth.”

The ICC said its source of broadcast data was official ratings agencies in different countries and the governing body’s broadcast research agency, Futures Sport & Entertainment. The source of digital analytics was Google Analytics, Twitter and Facebook.

The World Cup was won by England, which defeated India by nine runs in the final at Lord’s.