Hundred is huge ‘punt’, MPS are told
Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, repeatedly failed to answer how much had been spent on the Hundred as the ECB was grilled by a Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee.
“Mr Harrison, it’s a simple question. What is the budget and how much have you spent?” Jo Stevens, MP for Cardiff South, asked. Harrison was unable to answer with a figure but said that it was in line with the ECB’S prior expectations.
In evidence given later to the select committee, Andy Nash, formerly the chairman of Somerset and an independent director of the ECB, said that the Hundred would cost about £60million a year, once payments to the counties during the competition were taken into account. The ECB expects annual income from the tournament to be around £51 million a year, which would equate to a loss of around £7 million from the total £58 million costs, including county payments.
Nash attacked the Hundred as an “almighty punt” and “reckless gamble”, and said the tournament posed an “existential risk to the game.”
He added: “This has the potential to split the game, it has the potential to bankrupt the game. Fans feel as though the game is being taken away from them. They do not support the Hundred and can see the damage it might do to the other three formats.”
MPS asked a range of questions about the rationale for the controversial Hundred tournament, which launches next summer.
“T20 works for a market. We are looking for a new market as well as the existing one,” ECB chairman Colin Graves said, adding that the tournament was necessary to attract terrestrial broadcasters.