Page 6: The 20-over game
The final phase of the research showed that a cricket match that lasted around 3 hours rather than all day would appeal to new audiences such as females between 15 and 44, as well as families. This suggested that a cricket match restricted to 40 overs (240 balls bowled), the equivalent of 3 hours of play, would help the game to become more consumer focused.
For the ECB, this idea represented a radical step, but one clearly designed to increase consumer focus. So the ECB decided to 'go for it'. The game called the Twenty20 Cup, will be an evening competition between county sides with 20 overs per side. To assist the entertainment values further, the Twenty20 Cup will incorporate music into all matches as boundaries are scored or batsmen are dismissed. There will even be a live pop concert at the opening match and on the final's day. The first competition will be played during a 2-week period in June 2003 and the final is scheduled to be under floodlights in July 2003.
The ECB realised that some traditionalists might not support this popularised version of the game, but the market showed that, if appropriately targeted, it will attract a high level of interest amongst new consumer groups such as young people, women and families.