The first men’s match between the Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals was notably more raucous than the women’s match the night before
Booze-free zones could be introduced at the Oval for The Hundred following rowdy scenes at the opening men’s match on Thursday night.
Five of the seven Hundred venues already have alcohol-free stands and these could be rolled out across the two remaining venues – Oval and Edgbaston – when the tournament goes into its second year in 2022.
The venue host agreements between the counties and the England & Wales Cricket Board can be tweaked to include dry stands. The ECB will review the first tournament and is bound to make changes after lessons learned.
The first men’s match between the Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals was notably more raucous than the women’s match the night before when the crowd was made up mainly of families.
In recent years, Surrey have introduced a family zone at Blast matches – although it is not a dry area – to try and shed the image of boozy Blast night at the Oval.
Thursday night’s match at the Oval was dominated by groups of males and by the end of the night chanting and singing in the stands turned the atmosphere closer to a Twenty20 match than the organisers had wanted.
They are confident the scenes will not be repeated in the rest of the competition and Thursday was a one off because it was the only standalone men’s match of the tournament. The rest are double headers with women’s matches and they automatically attract more families.
Trent Bridge hosts its first matches on Saturday and 42 per cent of tickets have been bought for children and by women. The figures are similar for Lord’s on Sunday, which is sold out.
The coverage on the BBC in recent days has helped shift tickets. In the first 48 hours of The Hundred, over a third of tickets have been bought by family groups, although it is understood that at Emirates Old Trafford on Sunday they are expecting a crowd of only around 12,000 in a ground that can hold 22,000.
The target for the first year is 60 per cent capacity across the tournament, which will include free tickets. Thursday was billed as a sell-out, but only 18,000 turned up.
Broadcasters Sky and BBC have been pleased with audience figures so far. The first men’s match on Thursday peaked at 2.5m, following 1.6m on the BBC for the opening women’s game.