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Cricket attendances hit 18-year high

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A bumper Ashes summer and a boost in domestic spectators resulted in the highest overall attendance figures for British cricket since the English & Welsh Cricket Board (ECB) was founded in 1997.

Overall, 2.33m spectators came through the turnstiles to watch matches in England and Wales throughout 2015, up 11 per cent on the 2.09m who attended over the same period in 2014.

It was marginally up on the last high of 2.3m fans that turned up to matches in 2011.

While the Ashes series for the men’s and women’s team contributed to an international attendance boost of 75,000 - from 709,643 in 2014 to 785,030 - a surge of domestic spectators had a significant effect on the overall numbers.

In fact, a record of 1.54m spectators watched domestic cricket in 2015, up on last year’s figure of 1.38m as well as the previous high of 1.45m in 2011, as 513,000 people attended LV= County Championship matches, bettering last year’s figure of 495,000.

The addition of more fixtures to the calendar also contributed to the increase in spectators with T20 Blast and Royal London One-Day Cup attendances increasing year-on-year.

The former’s attendances rose by 800 per match on average, while 11 out of 18 counties experienced year-on-year increases for T20 matches.

Seventy-two One-Day Cup matches were played in 2015 after its inaugural tournament in 2014. More than 200,000 attended these matches, with an average increase of 500 spectators per match year-on-year.

England Test matches accounted for 560,000 fans across the year, while One Day Internationals and T20 Internationals gathered in 193,000 and 31,000 spectators respectively.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison attributed the high to enhanced match-day experiences, improved facilities and fan-friendly and accessible cricket grounds.

A number of the country grounds and international venues have also seen spectator capacities increase since the ECB’s inception 18 years ago.

Harrison also pointed to a bright grassroots picture with “significant increases in entries for our junior cricket competitions” and “highest levels of volunteering” for the NatWest CricketForce - the initiative which brings cricket clubs closer to local communities.

“They are all good signs and there are big opportunities ahead,” said Harrison. “We know that there’s more that can be done to draw people to watch and play cricket and further improve the standards across the game.”

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A bumper Ashes summer and a boost in domestic spectators resulted in the highest overall attendance figures for British cricket since the English & Welsh Cricket Board (ECB) was founded in 1997.
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The number of spectators to English and Welsh cricket matches rose 11% to 2.33m / Populous
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