Tickets for the inaugural season of the Hundred will not go on general sale as planned on April 8, the ECB has announced.
Priority tickets for the new competition went on sale in a window in February, with the ECB reporting that initial sales had “surpassed expectations” as an initial allocation for men’s Finals Day tickets sold out within 24 hours.
But with the coronavirus pandemic delaying the start of the English season by at least six weeks and the ability to stage the Hundred in the planned window in doubt, the ECB have decided to delay the next two ticket windows, scheduled for the start of April.
“In the midst of an epidemic which is affecting the nation in unprecedented ways, it would be wholly inappropriate for us to promote and sell tickets to the Hundred,” said Sanjay Patel, the competition’s managing director.
“We appreciate this may cause some disappointment to fans that were keen to purchase tickets in the April sales window, accessing early bird prices and securing tickets to the most in-demand games.
“When it is appropriate to go back on sale, we will of course offer the same ticket offers and accessible pricing. Like the rest of the nation, we all hope that it is not far away before cricket returns to our screens, stadiums, parks and clubs.”
Several counties had already taken their ticketing platforms offline due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, with many clubs currently operating with a skeleton staff.
While Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive, has signalled that the governing body’s intention is to prioritise the most lucrative competitions, i.e. the T20 Blast and the Hundred, Durham chief executive Tim Bostock suggested last week that if the season is squeezed into a two-month window, it may make sense to delay the new tournament’s first season to 2021.
“It’s pretty clear international cricket comes first, then after that it’s the Blast and the Hundred.,” he told TalkSPORT. “That’s where the revenue is.
“Protecting the Hundred is important, although in the conversations I’ve had with the ECB, if it ends up getting squeezed into a two-month season – which is possible – a view will be taken about whether this is really the right time to launch the Hundred.
“Tom Harrison has been really pragmatic about this. I certainly get the impression if we get a two-month season the pragmatic view would be: what’s the point of launching this competition now? Let’s launch it properly next year.”