Financial decisions key to growth of women’s cricket: The Hundred head Barrett-Wild

The Hundred draft. © Getty Images

Beth Barrett-Wild, head of The Hundred women’s competition, has said that women’s cricket as a market product has grown leaps and bounds in the last few years, and financial decisions like are key to the growth of the sport in future.

“If you look at the trends across the game, the one area that has consistently grown over the last five to 10 years is the women’s game,” she told The Daily Telegraph.

“And that’s where you also see the business case for the women’s game; we want as many people across the country to be playing as possible. And financially, including the women’s game in all of our decision making is really important to that.”

The women’s cricketers who were signed for The Hundred, a new domestic tournament that was introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board, are likely to retain their contracts for the next season without any value deduction.

Barrett-Wild said that Covid-19 has caused some uncertainty for athletes, especially female athletes, adding, “so being able to provide immediate clarity and assurance to the women’s players that they will get the chance to re-sign for the same team and for the same fee in 2021 is very important.”

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The first edition of The Hundred, initially scheduled to be launched during this summer in England, was eventually postponed to next year due to the pandemic outbreak. The men’s players might have a 20% cut in the actual contract they had signed this year.

While it is a welcome move that there would not be any salary deduction for the women, the difference in the salaries between the men and women is still skewed. On average, the men’s salary is almost eight times higher than that of the women.

Barret-Wild felt that although it is a long haul, for now, players need to be assured what is there on offer for next year.

“There are discrepancies in the salaries. And that is something that is going to take time to build up, to reach equality. However, it is important to give the players that immediate assurance and protection that they will have that guarantee next year.”

She felt that if you’re launching anything in a modern society, in terms of [brand] partners, the emphasis on the inclusion of women has significantly increased. “What was realised very quickly was the value that the women’s competition would give to the Hundred,” she said.

“The women’s game brings enormous commercial revenue opportunity. So we’re at a stage where we’re thinking not only what the Hundred brings to the women’s game, but what the women’s game brings to the Hundred.”