Really interesting, especially the Northants stat. Has their success in the T20 spilt over into more interest in the championship or is it something else? T20 isn't my favourite format but I can see how it can be used to help the longer game, unfortunatley the ECB seem intent on using it to destroy first class cricket instead.Bearing in mind the radical proposals for fundamental changes to the structure of the Cricket season, I thought it might be worthwhile to highlight some key statistics which, in my opinion, put in some doubt the validity of the ECB's rationale.
1. Combined aggregate attendances for all County Championship, List A and County 20/20 in the last five years:
2012 - 970,600 2013 - 1,340,650. 2014 - 1,348,300. 2015 - 1,500,180. 2016 - 1,550,480
I make that a year on year increase of over 50%. Quite impressive and not used as part of the ECB's narrative regarding the decline of English cricket.
2. Aggregate attendances for all County Championship matches in the last five years:
2012 - 435,700. 2013 - 507,470. 2014 - 504,230. 2015 - 516,850. 2016 - 576,640
Even the 'cinderella' County Championship, marginalised to early and late season slots, has shown an increase of over
15%, despite the lack of national media coverage. The County supporters are a resilient bunch and, evidently growing in numbers.
3. Aggregate gross attendances and average attendances for 20/20 matches in the last three years, since the last restructuring. (The figure in brackets refers to the number of matches where no result was recorded. I.e. Where, due to weather, a match of less than 5 overs a side was deemed impracticable.)
2014 - 706,000 5,829 (7). 2015 - 824,400. 6,500 (3). 2016 - 815,800. 6,830 (15).
This 'mediocre' competition, reportedly unloved and unsuccessful, has recorded increases of over 15% in both gross and average attendances in the space of only three years. This has happened despite a relatively wet start to the competition in 2016.
4. You may be interested in Yorkshire's attendances over the past years:
County Championship: 2012 - 36,802. 2013 - 49,788. 2014 - 47,565. 2015 - 59,109. 2016 - 65,337.
For the past 4 years Yorkshire has secured the largest attendance of any County.
20/20 Competition: 2014 - 33,440. 5,570. 2015 - 58,916. 8,420. 2016 - 51,632. 8,600.
Steady progress, even in a competition where our fortunes are mixed.
5. Random statistics:
The County which has grown its attendances best over the past years is the often maligned Northamptonshire.
In 2013 their aggregate Championship attendance was 4,170!! In 2016 it had grown to 20,350.
In 2014 their average attendance for 20/20 matches was 3,443. In 2016 it was 4,680.
In the Northern group, the team with by far the largest 20/20 attendances is Nottinghamshire. They averaged 11,010 per game.
Next comes Warwickshire with 8,700.
In the Southern group, Surrey is by far the most well attended County. In 20/20 games they averaged 18,860 per game. Next came Middlesex with an average of 13,680 and then Somerset with 7,390.
In my view these statistics reveal steady growth in interest and attendance, despite all the obstacles put in the way of the game.
They are statistics unlikely to be trumpeted by the ECB because they don't fit in with their narrative of an urgent and irrecoverable decline.
You can't really compare first class or one day cricket attendances to any other sport becuase of the obvious differences in the length of matches. If we compare the T20 averages to other leagues with a similar amount of teams competing:
Football (Premier League)- 36,461
Football (Championship) - 17,578
Rugby Union (Premiership) - 14,380
Rugby League (Super League)- 9,177
Cricket (T20 Blast) - 8,600
Football (League One)- 7,169
Football (League Two) - 4,880